The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) and Royal Life Saving (RLS) are reiterating warnings first made in December 2015 for parents to take care when providing mermaid tails to their children, saying the mermaid tails and monofins dramatically increase drowning risk in younger children.
The ACCC commissioned a study by the Royal Life Saving Society of WA (RLSSWA) to test and compare the swimming skills of children aged between two and 12 while wearing and not wearing the tails and fins.
The result was the RLSSWA found the fins significantly reduce a child’s movement in the water as they bind their legs together. The report recommends the products only be used by children aged seven or older, that they should be directly supervised at all times, and only be used in controlled environments such as swimming pools — never in the ocean or natural bodies of water. It also recommended warning messages be displayed on packaging and at point of sale.
RLS says that these products are considered to be aquatic toys and like all aquatic toys, safety precautions need to be taken while playing in and around the water. They should only be used under active adult supervision at all times and that the wearer should be an experienced and competent swimmer. They also suggest if you’re going to use them, consider choosing fins that do not bind the legs together and that easily release the feet.