Mermaid Tails and Monofins

Two girls wearing blue mermaid tails sitting on the edge of a pool

Mermaid tail and fin products have increased in popularity in Australia. Safety concerns relating to the use of mermaid tail products were heightened following the viral video which showed a young girl struggling to swim to the surface of her home swimming pool while wearing a mermaid tail. With such a strong global response to their appearance on the market and confusion around their safety for children, there was a real need to quantify the influence mermaid tail and monofin products may have on safety and swimming ability, to provide evidence-based recommendations for consumers.

This study found that they can significantly reduce children’s swimming ability and caution should be taken by parents when allowing children to use these products. Minimum age and actual swimming ability requirements (not those perceived by the child and/or parent) for use should be promoted to improve safety. In addition, these products should only be used in controlled aquatic environments with close adult supervision.

RESEARCH AIM:

To compare the swimming skills of children with and without wearing the products and to determine safety issues and whether they constitute a drowning risk.

RESEARCH OBJECTIVES:

  • Assess the difference in the skills of children swimming with and without the products
  • Determine the views of children in regard to wearing the products while in the water
  • Explore parental perceptions of the products with specific focus on safety
  • Measure the level of risk associated with wearing the products
  • Evaluate the ease to which the products can be removed in the case of an aquatic emergency

HOW PRODUCTS IMPACTED ON CHILDREN’S SWIMMING ABILITY

  • Overall 42.5% decrease in skills while wearing mermaid tails
  • Overall 47.1% decrease in skills while wearing mermaid fins
  • Children lacked confidence while using the mermaid tail and fin products
  • Products restricted movement
  • Difficulty in floating and kicking on their back
  • Slower pace and poorer swimming technique
  • Children became tired more quickly when using the products
  • Poor balance and had difficulty standing in the water
  • Difficulty floating due to weight of products

The full research can be downloaded below.

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