Consumer Groups want parents to carefully consider the risk when buying mermaid tails for their kids this Summer.
A review by the Royal Life Saving Society of WA and funded by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, tested the swimming performance of 25 girls and boys aged 2 to 12 years before and after wearing either a mermaid tail or mermaid fin.
It turns out the majority of the children's swimming ability dropped by 70% while using mermaid fins, and 60% while using mermaid tails.
The youngest children experienced the most difficulty.
RLSSWA Senior Manager Health Promotion and Research Lauren Nimmo said the products are popular with young children but parents need to be aware of the increased risk.
“The study gives us a strong foundation to create safety guidelines for the use of mermaid tails and fins relating to the child’s age and swimming ability, while further emphasising the necessity for close supervision at all times regardless of age or swimming ability,” Ms Nimmo said.
The toy's potential risk was flagged by Consumer Protection two years ago and Commissioner David Hillyard said, while they knew that swimming ability would be affected by wearing mermaid tails or fins, they didn’t know to what extent.
"Now we know that the effect is significant and the drowning risk is greatly increased, we can caution the children’s parents and supervisors so they can make informed decisions as consumers,” Mr Hillyard said.
The “Review of Mermaid Tail and Fin Products” report can be downloaded from the RLSSWA website.