Let me tell you, my two kiddos spend A LOT of time in swimsuits. Not only do we go to the pool a few times a week, we also to love heading to water parks and the beach to hang out in the sand and surf. After spending so much time and energy wrestling these little monkeys in and out of their spandex (often while they're screaming, crying or trying to make a break for it), I’ve learned a thing or two about how to pick swimming costumes for children.
Here are my top tips, not just as a swimwear designer, but as the mum of a couple of active preschoolers:
1- Be sun safe
Living on the equator, we know that it’s important to protect our little ones’ delicate skin from the harsh sun. Rather than slathering sunscreen on them all day long, consider also protecting them with long sleeved swimsuits, like a rash guard, and a sun hat. Not only do you use less chemicals on their skin, you also don’t need to worry as much about reapplying or missing a spot. Look for swimwear with sun protection that specifically states it is rated as UPF 50+ sun protection, which means the fabric has been tested and is shown to block out at least 99% of harmful UVA and UVB rays.
2- Pick the right suit for the temperature
Even in tropical Singapore, the pool and sea temperature can still be chilly early in the morning or after it rains. When we have an early swimming class, I tend to layer our kids’ swimsuits underneath a thick lined rash guard or snug fitting neoprene wet suit to keep them warm. Make sure it is not too loose as a tighter fit will help with retaining their body heat in the water.
3- Choose something that will last
You might be tempted to grab a cheap swimming costume because your kids will outgrow it so quickly, but selecting a high-quality swimsuit will save you in the long run – kids are really harsh on their swimsuits – they wear them all day long in chlorine and salt water, get them covered in sun cream, and crawl around all day rubbing their bums against sand and concrete. Low quality swimwear will inevitably succumb to pilling, stretching and wearing out much faster than something made of higher quality fabric. Also, if the swimming costume is in good shape, it can be handed down instead of just thrown away when your child outgrows it. Bonus if it’s a unisex style that can be passed to a younger sibling or friend of a different gender. A long-lasting swimsuit is definitely the more sustainable option, since you’ll eventually wear out and dispose of only one swimsuit instead of two or three cheap ones.
4 – Find something that can grow with your child
Since children grow like weeds, choose a swimsuit style that can win you some extra time - find pieces that can be adjusted with features like drawstring waists or straps, or buy one a little bigger, which will save you some money in the long run. Besides, kids don’t like styles that are too tight as they’re not comfortable and hard to put on and take off (see my next point!). Opting for a comfortable swimsuit over a trendy one is always the way to go.
5- Get something that’s easy to put on and take off
I don’t know about yours, but my kids HATE having to squeeze their heads through neck holes that are too small. Especially when it’s wet, swimwear can be a real pain to remove. Look for styles with zippers, snaps or ties that can help you make the darn thing easy to rip off as quickly as possible (“Mommy I have to peeeeee…. NOOWWWW…..”), especially if your child is still in diapers and the inevitable code brown happens.
Lastly, don’t forget to pick cute swimsuits with fun prints that make wearing them part of the fun pool or beach experience! I hope these tips are helpful for the next time you need to choose swimwear for kids. Happy hunting!
August Society Founder & Creative Director