Your Guide TO the Best Swimwear for Babies
June 7, 2021
As the warm summer weather moves in, many families are preparing to hit the water. Few experiences are more fun and exciting than the first sunny excursion to the beach or pool. Watching a cute, chubby baby splash with delight is enough to make the effort of getting to the water completely worth the work. However, there might be a brief moment of panic as you’re hurriedly packing bags and suddenly ask yourself: what is the best swimwear for babies?
We’re here to help. After a few thoughtful additions to your baby’s wardrobe you’ll be covered in any situation. Keep reading for our full breakdown of the best swimwear for babies!
Why do parents use swim diapers? Unfortunately, disposable or cloth diapers will just absorb water, and going au naturel or sans diaper runs the risk of having an accident in the water. Swim diapers are the ideal solution to this dilemma.
Swim diapers use a special design that combines an absorbent interior with a waterproof exterior to keep accidents in the diaper. This means that a swim diaper functions as both a diaper and a swimsuit as it doesn’t require any other liners to be worn underneath. Best of all, many swim diapers are reusable, which means that you can save money and help protect the environment by reducing waste.
While swim diapers can easily be worn underneath other swimwear, they can also be used on their own, and their uninhibiting design makes it easy for young babies to kick, stretch, crawl and experiment with all kinds of movement in the water. Swim diapers are also an excellent option when you’re trying to potty train as they will keep accidents contained but can be easily removed by a child when using the bathroom independently.
How to Pick the Right Swim Diaper
High-quality swim diapers will have features that help keep your baby’s skin as protected and clean as possible while playing the water, including:
- A completely waterproof outer shell to keep urine or feces contained.
- One or two moisture-wicking and highly-absorbent interior liners to guard against diaper rash caused by prolonged contact with the skin.
- A comfortable, snug fit around the waist and thighs that doesn’t chafe.
- Adjustable size options (with snap buttons) for continued use over time as your child grows.
Swim Shirts (Rash Guards)
Swim shirts, sometimes called rashguards, come in a range of styles and are one of the best options for outdoor baby swimwear. While cotton T-shirts fail to provide adequate sun-blocking capabilities and long sleeve shirts are too absorbent, swim shirts are made from comfortable, quick-drying, lightweight material designed specifically for use in the water.
Long and short sleeve swim shirts have several huge benefits. First, they keep young kids warm, even in cooler water. Second, they provide increased protection from the sun, preventing sunburn (especially with full-length sleeves). In fact, many swim shirts provide UPF 50+ protection all day, regardless of if they’re dry or wet. This level of protection is a great addition to or replacement for sunscreen, particularly if your baby is less than 6 months old as many parents avoid sunscreen at such a young age.
A fashionable and practical combination of swim trunks and rashguards, sunsuits are an easy way to get the best of both worlds. Sunsuits are an adorable outerwear option that will provide full sun protection for your child’s upper body as well as a closure for the swim diaper below. Many parents love sunsuits because they are easy to put on and keep kids warm and covered without the need to constantly apply sunscreen.
Perfect as a multi-use wardrobe item, cover-ups can be used as a towel or warming wrap during beach days or as a sweater during everyday play.
Some of the material qualities to look for when picking out safe and effective upper body swimwear for your baby or young children include the following:
- Material that is free of harmful dyes, formaldehyde or other chemicals that will be directly against your child’s skin. High-quality swimwear can provide protection through specially woven fabric instead of through the application of chemicals.
- Extended necklines for an easy, painless process of putting clothes on and taking them off again.
- Resistance to salt water and chlorine.
- Highly conforming fabric with 4-way stretch capabilities to accommodate your child’s every move without restriction or unnecessary rubbing.
The benefits described above, combined with moisture-wicking capabilities and breathability, make swim shirts an ideal choice for babies and young kids.
As boys get older they will eventually transition to a more traditional swimsuit. During this transition period (1yr-3yrs), boys can start to wear swim trunks over their swim diapers. Eventually ditching the bulkier swim diaper may even provide extra motivation for working on potty training! Because swim trunks don’t provide much coverage, they can be combined with a swim shirt and hat for full protection on those sunny days.
One-Piece & Two-Piece Swimsuits
Girls swimsuits offer so many fun options for a little extra flair, including ruffles, bows and fanciful designs. Most available swimsuit options for girls ages 3 months and up will provide the same amount of coverage over the midsection, legs and upper body. However, two-piece suits can allow parents to mix and match different styles and patterns, or switch between short sleeve and long sleeve tops depending on their need.
There are a few areas of your baby’s body that are more prone to sunburn and exposure and require extra protection. Since many babies have little to no hair and thin skin, hats are an absolute necessity for keeping the sun off of your baby’s delicate facial skin. Look for hats that have the right amount of front and rear coverage to protect your baby’s face, neck and back from harmful UV rays. Cloth hats tend to be thicker and a little bit warmer, though they are not water-resistant or quick-dry. Hats designed specifically for use at the beach or pool will feature a wide brim and a special material blend that dries quickly.
Your baby’s feet won’t be covered by even the best hat, swimsuit or sunsuit. The hot sun and sand are bound to burn and irritate highly sensitive skin, making effective shoes an essential for a visit to the beach. Closed-toe sandals and other types of slip-on shoes are a great option for keeping young children’s feet protected from the elements.
The glare of the sun on water and sand can be harsh on adult eyes, let alone those of a baby or young child. Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to add a pair of trendy sunglasses to the ideal beach outfit for total protection, comfort and a stylish look!
Picking the Right Swimwear
So, what is the best swimwear for babies? The answer to that question depends on a number of factors, including your child’s age, skin sensitivity and the weather conditions. While all of the options for baby swimwear might feel a little bit overwhelming, remember the key points below when picking the best options for your little ones:
- Young babies (0-3 months) need to stay warm and they can get cold very quickly.
- Babies have very sensitive skin. In fact, your baby’s skin is up to 50% thinner than yours and it will take several years to reach its full thickness. Baby skin is also missing many of the protective enzymes that help protect adults against external elements.
- Protection from the sun and non-irritating swimwear are essential for your baby’s comfort and safety. Sunburn can happen in a matter of minutes and rashes or irritated skin can persist if left untreated.
Browse Nini and Loli for a complete collection of boys, girls and gender neutral options all in one place!