Kick the ball - children's rash vest

What’s the best swimwear for boys?

We’ve been swimming a while with N, since he was a few months old, and have been through a lot with him during our Water Babies journey.  But as they grow it’s hard to know what they should wear.

Having had to put N in a happy nappy as that’s what most pools request, and what Water Babies require, has been fine – I’d much rather struggle to get him into a tight pair of those each week than suffer the humiliation of him poo-ing in a swimming pool!  Much more secure doubling up with a pair over the top of his disposable swim nappy (which let’s face it, doesn’t look like it’ll hold anything in!)

Here’s what’s worked for us from the start to now:

Few months old:

Our pool is the minimum temperature that under 1’s are recommended to swim in but it still sometimes feels cold when you first get in.  It means a wet suit is pretty much essential especially if you’ve got a baby who feels the cold.  N doesn’t usually, but sometimes he’ll shiver in the pool, and having a wetsuit on is good for peace of mind…babies can be slippy things.  We opted for a ‘wrap’ – you can usually get them from your swim school, although ebay is a great source as well as other online retailers.  We got ours from TKMaxx first time round.

If it’s a hydrotherapy pool and really warm, then a wetsuit probably isn’t needed.

twinkle twinkle
Twinkle Twinkle little star….swimming

Getting older

N started being uncomfortable and hating swimming so our teacher suggested one week that we strip the wetsuit off and just leave him without.  It didn’t work for us as N still seemed to get a bit cold (hard to know before they’re speaking well enough to tell you), so we decided to try a full wetsuit instead in case he needed more coverage.

So he had one with legs and sleeves, with velcro up the back.  He seemed ok in it, but wore that through his bad water wobbles, so I was glad when he outgrew it.  Then of course was the dilemma over what to get next and whether he needed something new.

From around 2

I decided that N still wasn’t going to be warm enough, plus having clothing to grab for is easier than a slippy toddler.  So it was rash vest time.  I love seeing toddlers in little swim tops but it’s pretty difficult to find them out of season.  My advice is to stock up in the summer sales, a couple of size options, then they’re ready for when the child needs them.

I found his first one in the Boots sale although it was a little short for him (he’s got a long body) so didn’t last him long.  Then trying to buy out of season I struggled.  Most online retailers were out of stock his size, or just didn’t stock small enough.  Or they were all in ones or two pieces.  We only needed the top.  Eventually I found a stockist on ebay, ended up buying a size bigger than his everyday wear, but it fits perfectly and was a bargain unlike some of the big branded items.  If you go on holiday, then finding one with UV protection shouldn’t be too difficult as even the cheaper ones seem to have it.

woggle swimming
Practicing with his woggle

N loves his swimming top.  He gets excited when he sees the swimming bag ready packed in the morning…it’s a long wait until 2pm.  I have to explain everything we need to do first before he can go swimming, otherwise he’d never shut up about ‘go swimming’.  I think he also prefers a top without a zip as the old one we had to keep unzipped otherwise it came quite quite high up his neck.

That’s the only problem with children and clothes – you never know what might irritate them before you buy.  Unless you can try out a friend’s version or borrow one to try first.  Always worth asking around before you buy just in case they’re not happy and would prefer a different style.  You obviously want them to be comfortable when swimming.

You’ll notice for the first time in ages we have swimming photos.  I had to ask another parent who was watching the class if she’d take some photos for us.  Next lesson, I must remember to take a flash drive with photos of her son she’d taken at the same time.

We had a new activity to try out this week.  Saturday’s lesson was all about practicing kicking legs, so they played a game of football, each kicking a ball on their back to try and get it the balls in the goal (hoop).  N loved it – anything to kick his legs, even being on his back.  And it’s always good fun playing with the balls – just need to make sure he listens to the fact it’s kicking the ball and not throwing it, otherwise he just picks up the ball and chucks it wherever, ignoring the fact he’s meant to be kicking it instead.

Kick the ball
Practicing his kicking


Disclosure: Written as a Water Babies blogger.

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  1. Thanks for this! My son is three and has been wearing the zip up type costumes as it’s sooo cold in our pool. He really wants to wear shorts as the zip irritates him too (as do labels etc…). I hadn’t seen separate swim tops/rash vests before. I shall be checking them out!

    1. Pleased to help. The only bad thing about them is that the tops rise up. You could always tuck one in to the shorts though, and if they’re in a float belt that keeps it down obviously. I think they look really cute in them.

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