Kids’ wetsuits are like magic for children who spend a lot of time in the water — whether they’re in a swim class, swimming or boogie boarding at the beach, or splashing around with friends in an inflatable pool. Wetsuits make cold water temperatures more comfortable, which gives kids the chance to play all day in the water without complaining. (They’ll still complain, just hopefully not about being cold.)
While they may be a pain to put on and take off, wetsuits do a lot of good. Wetsuits for kids are made of a rubber and nylon called neoprene, which has a natural buoyancy, making it easier for kids to float. (It’s important to note that wetsuits aren’t safe to be used as floatation devices.) The material also helps protect kids from scraping themselves on something in the water or being stung by a jellyfish, from the sun’s harmful UV rays, and from sand getting in all the places. Plus, wetsuits are just cool, especially if your child is all about that surfer vibe.
There are several types of wetsuits that vary in style, material, body coverage, design, and thickness (with 3mm providing more thickness than 2mm) — it can be a bit overwhelming. We spoke to Marion Clark, Beach Programs Director for Surf Academy and The Surf Bus Foundation in Southern California, and she has some great tips for finding the right wetsuit for your kids.
“Wetsuits for children come in similar styles and thickness as adult suits: tank bodysuits, short sleeves/short legs (spring suits), and traditional full suits,” Clark told Scary Mommy. “The best kids’ suits will have easier entry/exit strategies like velcro at the shoulders and zippers at the ankles. If a child doesn’t like tight things going over their head, a back zip wetsuit is better than a chest zip or zipperless wetsuit.”
As far as figuring out the right size, Clark highly recommends referencing size charts when available. “If a child fits into the weight category of one size and the height of another, then consider how your kiddo fits into jeans,” Clark said. “Neoprene stretches to fit and it should be snug or it won’t keep your child as warm as intended. If you have a child that is a ball of muscles, go with the height over the weight. If you have a slender kiddo, go with the weight over the height.”
Best Youth & Kids Wetsuits
Parents love this highly rated wetsuit because it keeps their kids warm and is totally affordable. Kids love it because it’s comfortable and flexible and comes in several cool colors. Choose from wetsuits that are full body, shorty, or long sleeves with shorts in a variety of thicknesses. All the styles have a back zipper design with a long strap to promote independence. The sizes range from XS to 3XL, which is equivalent to 2T all the way to size 14.
One Reviewer Says: “My son takes swimming lessons in an indoor pool with water temp that is between 78-80 degrees. He doesn’t have much meat on his bones and usually got cold within 20 minutes of class. With the suit on, he can now swim the entire class and stay in for even longer! I’ve taken his skin temp after he’s worn the suit and it’s been in the 90’s, whereas another child’s skin temp was around 80 degrees!! The suit works!”
If a name-brand wetsuit is important to you, this one from O’Neill is a solid choice — even though it’s on the pricier side. This full-body suit is a mix of 3mm and 2mm thickness, allowing for flexibility while in the water. According to parent reviews, the wetsuit has a back zipper pull, making it easy enough for kids to pull on themselves. A velcro strap keeps the zipper in place so it doesn’t come unzipped and water doesn’t leak inside. It comes in six colors and is available in sizes 4 to 16.
One Reviewer Says: “Well stitched. Nice features. It works. We live at Lake Tahoe and water ski early [in the morning]. Fit is good. Easy on and off. Does not restrict arm movement.”
Lemorecn sells both shorty and full body wetsuits for kids in 2mm. This one has a 50+ UV shield and a pull-on zipper in the back. It’s available in sizes 4 to 16 and comes in several color options. According to reviews, the wetsuit runs small, so check the size chart and consider ordering up a size if needed. You want it to be snug, but a little room to grow is always nice.
One Reviewer Says: “My son is very hesitant to get in the water which is even slightly cold. I didn’t have this problem with this wetsuit on. There’s obviously initial getting used to and letting the water seep in once and adapt to body temperature – but after that, he was enjoying it. Also, there is enough flexibility in the suit to move your arms around while wearing it. My son was able to run around easily in this, let alone swim. Would highly recommend to anyone thinking about getting one.”
Looking for a dependable wetsuit at an affordable price? This Seaskin wetsuit may be the perfect match. Well insulated with 2-millimeter thickness, this front-zipper suit is good for bigger kids who are already a bit familiar with the water. It’s made of soft and stretchy material that kids will be comfortable in at the beach or at the pool. Plus, it has an overall rating on Amazon of 4.6 out of five, which is a bonus.
One Reviewer Says: “Aaaaamazing!! Bought one for my boy (3) and one for my girl (2). Both weigh 25-30lb and they fit perfect! Great flexibility and keeps them warm in the pool! Definitely a bargain deal for the quality of this suit. Very impressed!”
This wetsuit has a lot of personality to it, and it’s a good choice for any kid who’s interested in joining the swim team. Made from 90% natural neoprene, this suit has a zipper in the back and will help protect kids from cold temperatures and even jellyfish stings. It’s great for diving, snorkeling, or any water sport. Plus, it’s available in multiple designs.
One Reviewer Says: “The wetsuit was perfect. I purchased it so my grandchildren could go in the pool during the Christmas break. It’s usually pretty warm but this year was colder than usual. The suit was nice because it was true to size.”
Let your little swimmer look classy and dapper in this Goldfin wetsuit. According to the Amazon seller, this suit is best for temperatures between 50 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. Great for warmth, it’s made from 3 millimeters neoprene. It was made to fit tight, so parents may want to size up.
One Reviewer Says: “My 9-year-old son LOVES this wetsuit. It is high quality and [has] very thick neoprene. He loves how it keeps him warm in the Pacific Ocean for long periods of time so he can enjoy his boogie board and not get sand rash all over his tummy.”
Best Toddler Wetsuits
If your little ones get super cold during swim class or playing in the pool, they’ll appreciate this 2mm full-body wetsuit. It has an anatomical fit, which allows for movement and comfort, and a back zipper means curious fingers won’t be able to take it off without help. Designed for toddlers and slender kids, the wetsuit is available in sizes 1 to 6 and comes in four colors.
One Reviewer Says: “Before we purchased the wetsuit, my son would be shivering with blue lips within ten minutes of the lesson. He is extremely skinny with zero body fat! The first day with the wetsuit he swam for an hour and could have stayed in longer.”
This wetsuit from CrtiLady is made for kids between the ages of two and 15, so there’s a good shot your paddleboarding kiddo might be in the range. Made from 1.5 millimeter neoprene, this suit will protect your child outside while still being comfortable in the water. With a long zipper on the back, this suit is easy for kids to jump in and out of.
One Reviewer Says: “I ordered this wetsuit to try for my 11-year-old twins. We spend a lot of time at the lake during the year and this will get plenty of use. I ordered the 3X and it fit them wonderfully. My kids are about 100lbs and almost 5ft tall. A great fit for both of them. I might have to order a 2nd one!”
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