What is the best wetsuit for my child?
We often get asked which wetsuit is best for a baby or child but due to the wide range of products on the market there is no simple answer. With so much choice out there, we take a look at the differences between the wetsuits so you can make an informed decision.
Firstly, a wetsuit is only required if the water temperature is below the recommended temperature for baby swimming, which is 30°C. You then need to consider many other factors. Your choice will take into consideration the age of your child, how much coverage you’d like, the ease of getting the wetsuit on and off and whether it’s required for swimming lessons or the beach.
Let’s simplify it:
Newborn and 0-3 months
At such a young age, these little ones need the most coverage and warmth. Even if the pool runs at 30°C or above, some babies still prefer to be warm and secure in a wetsuit. Splash About offers a range of baby wetsuits. The Warm in One is the only product that covers the full body, arms and legs and it is fleece-lined so soft and gentle on baby’s skin. This wetsuit fastens at the back with Velcro and has a UV factor 50. The Warm in One doesn’t have a built-in happy nappy so you may need to purchase one of these. These are ideal for the newborn and little babies. Splash About’s Happy Nappy Wetsuit is made of a 1mm thick neoprene and has a built in Happy Nappy. They zip up from the back and also have UV factor 50 but the difference between this and the Warm in One is that it doesn’t have any leg coverage. For some children, this is better as it encourages them to kick more – the arms are ¾ length and it isn’t fleece lined. Happy Nappy wetsuits are great for pools at 30C. Two Bare Feet also has a newborn wetsuit and its Classic Wetsuit. However, the neoprene isn’t as thick and these fasten with a zip at the front. You would also require a Happy Nappy for this wetsuit. Two Bare Feet is less expensive than Splash About if you have a budget but tend to need a bigger fit.
Children of this age can still wear the Splash About Happy Nappy Wetsuit but unless the pool you are using is very cold, we would recommend no longer using the Warm in One. A popular product at this age is the baby wrap/baby warma. This is a neoprene wrap that just covers the torso. It usually fastens with Velcro over the shoulders and down the chest and does not have a built-in Happy Nappy. Many companies sell the baby wrap, including Zoggs, Konfidence, Splash About and Two Bare Feet. Note they will all vary in sizes, fitting, price and warmth. The Two Bare Feet Classic Wetsuit is a popular product for this age but watch the sizing! This wetsuit zips up the front and has short sleeves and short legs.
When buying a toddler wetsuit, think about the reason you want it. Consider whether you are planning on using it most of the day on holiday, then consider the ease of getting it on and off when your toddler needs the toilet, when they aren’t in the pool etc. Splash About sells a two-piece wetsuit shorts and jacket. Most other brands are a one piece. Think about the thickness of neoprene you need – is it for the sea or a warmer pool? If your little one needs the wetsuit for a lesson, they’ll need long leg coverage. None of the toddler wetsuits have a Happy Nappy built in so if you are using it for lessons, you may still need to buy one. The Splash About Jammer wetsuit however has the Happy Nappy internal waistband and medical-grade silicone around the legs, which acts as a barrier for any leaks.
Please note when purchasing a wetsuit, you must ensure it fits correctly. An ill-fitting wetsuit will defeat the point so try to make sure it’s as snug-fitting as possible. This applies to legs and arms too – otherwise the water will just flush in and out of the wetsuit and leave your baby feeling cold. Do not leave room for growth when considering a wetsuit. If using the wetsuit for lessons and as your child grows, you should be able to easily remove it if the pool is over 30°C – wetsuits are great for keeping little ones warm but are quite buoyant, resulting in your child becoming dependent on it and not wanting to kick as much as they could!
Browse Swimbabes’ huge selection of baby swimwear or get in touch with the team for more inspiration and expert advice.