Children who wear mermaid tails and single-fin pool toys are at greater risk of drowning because their ability to swim is reduced by up to 70 per cent, a study has found.
The Perth-based review commissioned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and conducted by the Royal Life Saving Society of WA, compared the swimming performance of 25 children aged two to 12, before and after they wore the toys.
It found the mermaid fin hindered a child's ability to swim by 70 per cent while the tail reduced it by 60 per cent, with the greatest impact recorded on younger children.
"Children are the greatest risk group for drownings in WA and any product that further increases this risk is a major concern," RLSSWA manager Lauren Nimmo said.
"Mermaid tails and fins reduce a child's ability to swim by making it significantly more difficult for children to float, restricting their movement and increasing tiredness."
However, about 75 per cent of children in the trial said they would be happy to use the tail again.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said parents and guardians must carefully consider whether these products are appropriate for their children to use.
The ACCC has recommended restricting the products to children over the age of 10 and increasing adult supervision.
Mr Hillyard said concern about the mermaid toys was first raised two years ago after a video from the United States, showing a girl getting stuck upside down in her family's backyard pool while wearing a mermaid tail, went viral on social media.
"She was rescued by her mother who luckily was close by, but this could have ended very differently if an adult had not been present," he said.