Top 10 Best Swim Gear for Toddlers: Water Safety and Fun!

Introducing your little one to swimming is an exciting milestone, but ensuring their safety and comfort is paramount.

The right swim gear can make all the difference in building young swimmers’ water confidence while keeping them secure under close supervision. In this blog, we’ll explore the best swim gear for toddlers to enhance water safety and enjoyment.

With adult supervision and the right equipment, you can create a fun and safe environment for your child to thrive in the water.

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Best Swim Gear for Toddlers

Table of Contents

Best Swim Gear For Toddlers 2024

1. Swimwear

Toddler Boys & Girls Swimwear

When choosing swimwear for toddlers, consider the following features:

  • Use UPF 50+ rating to protect sensitive skin from harmful UV rays.
  • Look for swimwear made of soft, stretchy fabrics like nylon, spandex, or polyester blends.
  • Opt for swimwear that includes shorts or skirts for additional coverage and comfort (ex. Long-sleeved rash guard and one-piece suits).
  • Choose swimwear with front or back zippers or snaps at the bottom for easy diaper changes and quick dressing.
  • Elastic waistbands on swim trunks or bottoms make putting on and taking off easier.
  • Avoid small, detachable pieces.
  • Select bright & contrasting Colors. They improve your child’s visiblity to a lifeguard in the water which crucial in preventing a drowning incident.

Bernard Fisher, Director of Health and Safety for the American Lifeguard Association, suggests avoiding light blue, gray, or green swimsuits, as these colors can blend with the water and pool surroundings, making it difficult to spot a child. Bright and contrasting colors, such as neon yellow, orange, pink, and bright red, are recommended.

Top Picks

  1. Gerber Toddler Boy Long-Sleeved Rashguard Swim Suit Set
  2. Carter’s Girl Long-Sleeved Zippered One Piece Bathing Suit 
  3. Disney Princess One Shoulder Tankini Swimwear
  4. Ma & Baby Boy One-Piece Swimwear

2. Swim Diapers 

Toddler Boys & Girls Swim Diapers

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing swim diapers for toddlers to ensure they are practical, comfortable, and convenient:

  • Fit and Comfort: The most crucial aspect to consider when choosing swim diapers for your little one is their fit and comfort. Look for diapers that fit snugly around the waist and legs to prevent leaks without being too tight. Many swim diapers have adjustable snaps or Velcro to ensure a good fit as your child grows, providing you with peace of mind about their comfort and safety.
  • Soft and Stretchy Material: Choose materials that are gentle on your toddler’s skin and provide good flexibility. Opt for fabrics that dry quickly to keep your child comfortable out of the water.
  • Easy On and Off: Diapers with side snaps or tear-away sides make it easier to change your toddler, especially when wet. For reusable options, ensure they are machine washable and easy to clean.

Reusable vs. Disposable:

  • Reusable Swim Diapers are cost-effective because they can be washed and reused multiple times, reducing waste compared to disposables.
  • Disposable Swim Diapers are convenient because they are easy to use and disposable after swimming. They are ideal for vacations and short-term use.

Top Picks:

  1. iPlay by Green Sprouts Reusable Boy Swim Diapers
  2. Beau & Belle Resusable Swim Diapers
  3. FINIS Reusable Swim Diapers
  4. Huggies Little Swimmers Disposable Swim Diapers
  5. Pampers Splashers Disposable Swim Diapers

**FYI: Swim diapers are designed to hold solid waste, not liquid waste, as they are meant to be used while swimming. This means that if you accidentally forget to change your toddler into a regular absorbent diaper before putting them in their car seat, you may find liquid waste all over their car seat. (Of course, this didn’t happen to me before I realized this fact, lol!)

3. Floatation Devices

Here are the main types of flotation devices for toddlers:

HeySplash Toddler Swim Vest

a. Swim Vests

Swim vests or life jackets are lightweight, provide buoyancy, and allow free movement. They are best for learning to swim.

Top Picks

  1. HeySplash Swim Jacket with Water Wings
  2. Limmys Premium Swim Vest
  3. Stearns Puddle Jumpers
Speedo Toddler Arm Floaties

b. Arm Floaties (Water Wings)

Arm floaties are inflatable bands worn on the arms. They are best for comfortable swimmers who need some support.

Top Picks:

  1. Speedo Arm Floaties
  2. Intex Arm Bands
  3. GogoKids
Intex Toddler Swim Rings

c. Swim Rings and Tubes

Ring tubes are circular inflatables for sitting in or holding onto. These are best for supervised pool play.

Top Picks:

  1. INTEX Swim Tubes
  2. SwimSchool Toddler Swim Tube & Vest Combo
SwimWays Baby Spring Float

d. Swim Trainer Seats

These inflatable seats with leg holes are suitable for younger toddlers needing full support. 

Top Picks:

  1. SwimWay Baby Spring Float 
  2. INTEX My Baby Float
  3. Free Swimming Baby 
Sunlite Sports Back Float Swim Trainer

e. Back Floats

Foam pads worn on the back are best for swim training and posture.

Top Pick: Sunlite Sports Back Float Swim Trainer

Splash About Float Built-in-Suit

f. Float Suits

Swimsuits with built-in flotation panels are best for transitioning to independent swimming.

Top Pick: Splash About Float Suit.

Oodles Pool Noodles for Toddlers

g. Noodle Float

Foam noodles are best for straddling or holding and are best for playful water activities.

Top Pick: Oodles of Noodles Foam Pool Noodles.

Melissa & Doug Kickboard for kids

h. Kickboards

Flat boards for holding while kicking, best for swim training and leg strength.

Top Picks:

  1. Melissa & Doug Shark Kickboard
  2. SwimWays Kickboard
  3. PoolMaster Kickboard

Safety Tips

1. Always supervise closely.
2. Ensure proper fit and comfort.
3. Choose high-quality, safety-standard products.
4. Match the device to the child’s ability and activity.

Selecting the suitable flotation device helps your toddler enjoy the water safely and build swimming confidence.

4. Swim Caps

Toddler Boys & Girls Swim Caps

Swim caps are essential for toddlers and young children learning to swim or participating in water activities. They reduce hair shedding, minimize the introduction of oils and dirt into pool water, provide a barrier against chlorinated water, and enhance safety.

Additionally, brightly colored swim caps make it easier for lifeguards and parents to spot children in the water, enhancing safety. They also help keep swim goggles secure and prevent slipping, ensuring better underwater vision.

Many swim instructors require caps to help identify different levels or classes, making it easier for instructors to manage groups. Some caps provide coverage over the ears, which can help reduce the amount of water that enters the ears and prevent ear infections or discomfort.

Key Factors to consider when selecting swim caps:

  • Snug fit: The cap should fit snugly to keep hair in place and reduce drag in the water, but not so tight that it causes discomfort.
  • Size: Choose a cap designed for toddlers to ensure it fits properly. Some caps are available in various sizes to accommodate different head shapes and sizes.
  • Non-Slip: Ensure the cap stays in place during swimming and doesn’t slide off easily.
  • Swim Lessons vs. Recreational Use: A snug-fitting silicone cap may be best for swim lessons, while a comfortable Lycra/Spandex cap might suffice for casual play.

 Materials:

  • Silicone: is durable, hypoallergenic, and provides a snug fit. It is easy to put on and remove without pulling hair.
  • Latex: More flexible and thinner than silicone, but less durable and may cause allergies in some children.
  • Lycra/Spandex: These are soft and comfortable, not as tight-fitting as silicone or latex, and better for keeping hair tidy than dry.

Top Picks:

  1. Speedo Silicone Swim Cap
  2. TYR Silicone Swim Cap
  3. FINIS Silicone Swim Cap
  4. Arena Lycra Swim Cap

5. Swim Goggles

Toddler Boys & Girls Swim Goggles

Here are some key factors to consider when choosing swim goggles for toddlers:

  • Adjustable Straps: Ensure the goggles have adjustable straps for a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Soft Seals: Look for soft, silicone seals around the eyes to prevent irritation and provide a watertight fit.
  • Size: Choose goggles designed for toddlers to ensure proper sizing.
  • Quick Release: Some goggles have quick-release buckles, making it easier to take them off without pulling hair.
  • Anti-Fog Coating: Helps prevent the lenses from fogging, ensuring underwater clear vision.
  • UV Protection: Look for lenses that protect your toddler’s eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.
  • Shatter-Resistant: Durable, shatter-resistant lenses are safer and more durable for active use.

Top Picks:

  1. Speedo Unisex Swim Goggles
  2. Seago Swim Goggles
  3. FINIS Dragonflys Swim Goggles
  4. Splash Place Swim Goggles

6. Water Shoes

Toddler Boys & Girls Water Shoes

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting Water Shoes for Toddlers:

  • Proper Fit: Ensure the shoes fit snugly but not too tightly. There should be enough room for the toes to move comfortably. Ensure the shoes stay securely on the feet, even during active play in water.
  • Soft, Flexible Materials: Look for shoes made from soft, flexible materials that conform to the toddler’s feet and provide maximum comfort.
  • Adjustable Closures: Shoes with adjustable straps or elastic laces can provide a secure and customizable fit.
  • Non-Slip Soles: Choose shoes with non-slip rubber soles for good traction on wet and slippery surfaces.
  • Closed-Toe Design: Closed-toe water shoes protect little toes from sharp objects, hot surfaces, and stubs.
  • Quality Materials: Opt for shoes made from durable materials that can withstand exposure to water, sand, and rough surfaces.
  • Fast-Drying: Look for shoes made from quick-drying materials to prevent discomfort and potential skin issues from prolonged dampness.
  • Breathability: Mesh panels or perforations can help improve airflow and speed up drying.
  • Easy On and Off: Consider shoes with easy slip-on designs or Velcro straps to make it simple for toddlers to put on and take off their shoes.
  • Lightweight: Lightweight shoes are easier for toddlers to walk and play in.

Top Picks:

  1. Apolter Barefoot Non-Slip Water Shoes
  2. LelsFIt Breathable Non-Slip Water Shoes
  3. FeetCity Quick-Dry Water Shoes 

7. Sun Protection

Babo Botanicals Baby Sunscreen

Consider combining Clothing, Sunscreen, and accessories to ensure comprehensive protection when protecting toddlers from the sun at the pool or beach. 

Here are the key factors to consider:

a. Sunscreen

  • Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that offers broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Ensure the Sunscreen is water-resistant to provide protection during swimming and play.
  • Opt for sunscreens formulated for children’s sensitive skin, free from harsh chemicals and fragrances.
  • Apply Sunscreen 15-30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours or more often if swimming or sweating.

Top EWG Verified Sunscreens:

  1. Thinkbaby SPF 30 
  2. Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF50
  3. Attitude Baby Oatmeal Sensitive Natural Mineral SPF 30
SwimZip Wide-Brimmed Toddler Sun Hat

b. Sun-Protective Clothing

  • Rash Guards and Swim Shirts: Look for Clothing with UPF 50+ rating for maximum protection against UV rays.
  • Long Sleeves and Long Pants: Opt for long-sleeved shirts and pants to cover more skin.
  • Wide-Brimmed Hats: Hats with a wide brim or a flap at the back can protect the face, back of the neck, and ears.
  • Lightweight and Breathable Fabrics: Choose lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying fabrics for comfort.

Top Picks:

  1. SwimZip Wide Brimmed Sun Hat UPF 50+ Sun Protection
  2. Green Sprouts Long Sleeve Rashguard UPF 50+ Sun Protection 
  3. SwimZip Sun Cap with Neck Flap, UPF 50+ Sun Protection 
Coasion kids Sunglasses

c. Sunglasses

  • Ensure sunglasses provide 100% UVA and UVB protection.
  • Look for sunglasses designed specifically for toddlers, with durable frames and comfortable fit.
  • Adjustable straps can help keep sunglasses securely on your toddler’s face.

Top Picks

  1. HXS Toddler Sunglasses with Straps
  2. Disney Minnie Mouse Sunglasses
  3. Coasion Kids Rubber Flexible Shades
WhiteFang Beach Tent

d. Shade

  • Beach Umbrellas and Tents: Use umbrellas or tents to create shaded areas at the beach or pool.
  • Timing: Avoid sun exposure during peak hours, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.

Top Picks:

  1. WhiteFang Beach Tent
  2. Baby Beach Tent Pop Up Portable Pool Shade
  3. Kids Beach Chair with Umbrella 

Safety Tips:

  1. Take breaks in the Shade regularly to limit sun exposure.
  2. Teach your toddler the importance of sun protection and make it a routine.
  3. Ensure your toddler stays hydrated by offering water frequently, especially in hot weather.

8. Swim Towels and Ponchos

Toddler Boys & Girls Beach Towels

Parents should consider factors such as comfort, convenience, and effectiveness, which are key to selecting the most suitable swim towels or ponchos for toddlers. Here are the main points to keep in mind:

  • Opt for towels and ponchos made from soft, gentle materials like cotton or bamboo to prevent irritation to sensitive skin.
  • Choose highly absorbent materials like cotton or microfiber that can swiftly dry your child after swimming.
  • Ensure that the towel or poncho is the right size for your toddler – large enough to wrap around them entirely but manageable to handle.
  • Look for ponchos with a hood and side snaps or ties for good coverage and security, especially for active toddlers.
  • Select towels and ponchos that are easy to clean and machine-washed without bleeding or fading.
  • Consider lightweight towels or ponchos for more accessible transportation, particularly when traveling to and from the pool or beach.

Top Picks:

  1. Dock & Bay Beach Kids Towel 
  2. Baba & Bear Hooded Poncho Towel
  3. Franco Paw Petrol Hooded Towel

9. Swim Toys

Beach Balls Swim Toys

Parents should consider safety, engagement, durability, and age-appropriateness when buying swim toys for toddlers for the pool or beach to ensure their child’s playtime is enjoyable and secure. Here are the key factors to consider:

Key Factors to Consider:

  • Non-Toxic Materials: To prevent harmful chemical exposure, ensure the toys are made from non-toxic, BPA-free materials.
  • No Small Parts: Avoid toys with small, detachable parts that could pose a choking hazard.
  • Smooth Edges: Toys should have no sharp edges or small parts that could hurt your child.
  • Floatation and Buoyancy: If toys are intended for use in the water, ensure that they are designed to float to prevent them from sinking and causing frustration.
  • Skill Level: Choose toys that match your child’s swimming ability and coordination level.
  • High-Quality Materials: Look for toys made from durable materials that can withstand rough play and exposure to sun, saltwater, and chlorine.
  • Variety: A mix of toys, including those for solo play and group play, can keep your child entertained for longer periods.
  • Lightweight and Compact: Choose toys that are easy to carry and don’t take up much space in your beach or pool bag.
  • Easy to Clean: Opt for toys that are easy to rinse off and dry quickly to avoid mold and mildew.

Popular Types of Swim Toys

  1. Inflatable Toys: Beach balls, inflatable animals, and floaties.
  2. Water Squirters: Fun for interactive play, allowing toddlers to squirt water at targets or friends.
  3. Diving Toys: Soft, easy-to-grip rings, sticks, or characters that sink slowly for beginners to retrieve.
  4. Floating Toys: Boats, rubber ducks, or other toys that float on the water’s surface.
  5. Water Tables and Splash Mats: Ideal for toddlers to play safely near water without being fully submerged.

Top Picks:

10. Swim Bags

Swim Bags for Families and Kids

And, of course, we must remember the bag or backpack carrying it all! 

Key Features to Consider

  • Choose a bag appropriately sized for a toddler’s needs. It should be large enough to hold essentials like towels, swimwear, sunscreen, toys, and snacks but small enough for a child to carry (if you need them too)
  • Look for a bag with multiple compartments or pockets to help organize and separate wet and dry items.
  • Opt for water-resistant or waterproof materials to protect contents from getting wet. Choose durable materials that can withstand exposure to water, sand, and frequent use.
  • Ensure the bag has comfortable, adjustable straps that fit well on your shoulders. Padded straps can add extra comfort. The bag should be lightweight to prevent being too heavy once packed.
  • Look for bags with easy-to-open zippers or closures, so you or your toddler can easily access your belongings. Simple internal layouts with clear sections for different items help organize the bag.
  • To keep the bag hygienic, choose materials that are easy to wipe clean or machine washable. Mesh compartments or holes can help shake out sand and prevent it from accumulating in the bag.

Special Features to Look For

  1. Insulated Compartments: Useful for keeping snacks and drinks cool.
  2. Wet/Dry Separation: Separate compartments or pouches for wet and dry items can help keep things organized and clean.
  3. Name Tag: A name tag or space to write the child’s name can prevent mix-ups and loss.

Types of Swim Bags

  • Backpacks: Easy for toddlers to carry and often come with multiple compartments.
  • Tote Bags: Simple design, easy to pack and unpack, suitable for quick trips.
  • Drawstring Bags: Lightweight and easy to carry, though they may lack structure and separate compartments.
  • Duffel Bags: Offer more space and compartments but can be bulkier.

Top Picks

  1. Speedo Meg Bag Backpack
  2. Bluey Drawstring Backpack
  3. Family Tote Bag with Wet Compartment
  4. Beach Bag with Cooler
Best Swim Gears for Toddlers

Last Thoughts

Make sure all gear fits properly and comfortably to avoid any irritation or chafing. Always opt for floatation devices that are approved by relevant safety standards.

Look for items that are easy to put on and take off, as well as easy to clean. Toddlers can be rough on their gear, so durable materials are a must. Fun and colorful designs can make toddlers more excited about swimming.

By selecting the right gear, you can ensure your toddler has a fun, safe, and comfortable swimming experience. Hope this was helpful!

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Top 10 Pool Day Essentials For Toddlers

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