Picking the best swimwear for kids

Back from my solo trip away to The Gambia, my daughter had one big question to ask – did my hotel have a pool? (Yes, two) And did I get to have a swim while I was away? (Yes, every day… bliss).

Small girl lies back in a bright pink rubber ring in a swimming pool - picking the best swimwear for kids, my top tips on what to buy

There’s a good reason she has at least double the amount of swimwear I’ve got in my own wardrobe – left to her own devices, she’ll stay in the water until her lips go blue. Even her swimming lessons at our local leisure centre are one of the highlights of her week (bit less of mine…)

So over five years of buying swimwear for kids, I’ve worked out a few tips on what’s going to help you have the most fun, whether you’re splashing around with a toddler or persuading a nervous pre-schooler to jump in.

Water babies
Shivering in a chilly pool in Lanzarote on one of our first trips away, I quickly realised how useful all-in-one swimsuits would be – yes, you have to wriggle a wriggly small person in but it helps keep them a bit warmer in cool water while a UV protective version adds an extra barrier against the sun, along with SPF.

A back zip also meant she couldn’t pull it – or her swim nappy – off. Looking online there’s lots of choice too, with girls swimwear for all ages on sites like Simply Swim.

This Tots Girls Sun Protection one-piece from Zoggs is cute, while SplashAbout also does ‘warm in one‘ versions with a fleecy lining that’s ideal for really little ones.

An all-in-one swimsuit, two-piece and tankini for young girls - my tips on buying the best swimwear for kids

Potty trained for the pool
Ah the joys of no more swim nappies after potty training! And the realisation that a small child can put off going to the toilet until it’s beyond urgent if they’re having fun in the pool.

I’m not sure how many times we’ve made a sharp exit, and I’ve sprinted with a wet small person to the poolside bathroom, frantically trying to get a wet costume off her in time. It’s at this point, that a two piece is not just better than an all in one, it’s essential.

I’m not a big fan of small girls in bikinis, and with a very fair-skinned daughter, the more I could keep her covered in the heat, the better. So something like this Big Fisch Tots two piece sun suit is ideal for protection, practicality and a very fun print. Love a flamingo.

Now she’s older, we’re making fewer desperate dashes but a tankini still gets my vote – especially something like this Funkita popsicle parade which is also chlorine resistant.

Float away
Once my daughter was old enough to want to splash around independently, but still not old enough to swim unaided, we tried various swim aids over the years – noodles got the thumbs up but aren’t exactly suitcase-friendly, a shark’s fin was loved as a toy but not played with… the list went on. Until we tested our first Floatsuit.

It’s no exaggeration to say this transformed swimming again for us: she could finally have the freedom she wanted while being supported, and as she became more confident, we could take out float after float so she was learning to swim almost without realising.

One of our first was from Splash About – a floatsuit with zip is a must: getting small kids out of a wet swimming costume quickly without one is hard enough, but multiply that when they’ve got floats stuck all around them. Theirs also have sun protection, and 16 small floats rather than the standard eight.

My daughter wearing her first floatsuit and swim hat by a pool, plus Splashabout floatsuit and flower print swim hat in a collage - my tips for picking the best swimwear for kids

Swimming essentials
Goggles have been another major help to persuade my daughter to put her face in the water – Zoggs in particular – plus a hat when she was little.

Which just leaves toys: a whale which gently sprinkles water is lovely for little ones, balls and squirty soakers for older ones, toys to dive for when she’s older.

And for now? A couple of plastic Octonauts from the front of a CBeebies magazine has meant hours of endless amusement – and the chance for me to get some swimming in too.


My tips for picking the best swimwear for kids - from all-in-one suits for babies to why floatsuits and two-piece costumes are ideal as they get older. Image via #swimwear #packingtips #kidsswimwear #mummytravels



Compiled in association with Simply Swim*

Main image: FamVeldman; all others courtesy Simply Swim