Whether it’s a weekend splash in the paddling pool or that first family holiday, making sure your little ones are safe in the water is a must.
While we might be happy in minimal clothing while swimming, our babies and toddlers need more protection. Not just from the cold, but also from the sunshine - an extra layer from a swimsuit or wetsuit gives extra protection from sunburn and UV rays.
Swimming - whether in the pool or the sea - can make babies and toddlers cold very quickly, although they might not realise (remember they can't regulate their temperature as we can). So finding a wetsuit that's fleece-lined is a good idea, for added warmth. Some swimsuits also include integrated floats, giving you extra peace of mind that your little one will be safe in the water.
With plenty of baby swimwear on the market, we’ve shortlisted our top baby swimsuits and wetsuits below.
The best baby and toddler swimsuits
This super-soft, fleece-lined wetsuit is a good way to ensure your little one stays cosy in the pool. With UPF protection of 50+, they'll also be protected from the sun in the pool. Ideal for babies with sensitive skin and conditions such as eczema, the suit blocks in barrier cream for those who require it.
Review: "Perfect suit for our baby boy. Used at local baths and Center Parcs. Kept him lovely and warm. Got the size 3-6 months. It was fine for him at 4 months and used it recently at Center Parcs at 7 months though not likely to last much longer."
This cute little wetsuit is available in a number of different prints and is great when it comes to keeping your baby warm during those first swimming lessons. Made from 3mm thick neoprene to preserve body heat, it also has UPF 50+ sun protection. We also love how easy it is to get on and off thanks to the clever design.
Review: "14 month old was really cold and therefore not enjoying swimming then bought this and he is loving swimming at last!! No more tears. Rinses well in cold water after use and dries pretty quickly. I use it with reusable swim nappy only as doesn't fit with board shorts underneath. Size was accurate to measurements rather than age as is often the way with baby and toddler items as they're all different!"
This adorable swim nappy has a concealed water-resistant layer and leak-proof legs to avoid accidents in the pool. The cotton lining is soft against baby’s skin and the clever lightweight fabric means your baby doesn’t get weighed down in the water. Available from birth to two years.
Review: "These swim nappies are so pretty. They are easy to get both on and off and they work. Granddaughter did test them out on holiday and the nappy kept everything in. Disposed of solids, washed in a hot wash and nappy came out clean and unstained. It certainly did what it was supposed to do while looking pretty at the same time. We bought 2 so she could wear one while the other was washed and dried."
Read our full review of the Bambino Mio Reusable Swim Nappy.
Made from 80 per cent recycled fabric that's soft, stretchy, breathable and quick-drying, this swimsuit will give your little one UPF 50+ protection, whether they’re playing in the garden or paddling in the sea. Cut with a high neck and cute frill detail, it has a long zip up the back, so it’s easy to get on or off. Available from one to five years.
Review: "My daughter wanted to put this on as soon as she saw it. It looks very cute on, the sizing is accurate, and she seems comfortable in it. It’s great that it’s made from recycled materials and that it offers good protection from the sun."
Available in a number of adorable prints, another great buy from Splash About, this two in one product is a baby wetsuit incorporated with a full Happy Nappy. Providing body warmth with long sleeves, the super soft neoprene makes it easy to get on and off, even when wet.
This product won Bronze for Best Safety Product at the 2017 Mother&Baby Awards.
Review: "Love these swim suits for our little ones. They aren't cheap but will last as they grow as legs just go from being long to short as with arms and plenty of room for growth in the belly. Keep them warm when in the pool and not slippery when holding onto baby. Built in happy nappy excellent as additional protection to a regular swim nappy. Have just bought the next size up as had this one over a year."
Read our full review of the Splash About Happy Nappy Wetsuit.
This adorable little unisex suit is a great option for little ones who won’t wear armbands in the pool, the floatation suit provides buoyancy with less restriction. The floats can be removed as their confidence grows, but remember never to leave your child alone in the water – this is not a life jacket. Available in sizes from 1-2 years to 4-5 years.
Review: "Love them, I feel confident to go swimming with my twin and know they are safe in these. I did use arm bands as well but as they have started taking them off they are able to stay a float without my support."
A great product that does pretty much everything in one, this Splash About float suit comes with 16 removable floats, whilst providing neck, shoulder and leg coverage for great sun protection. It comes in a number of cute shades and is available from 1-2 years to 5-6 years.
Review: "Great little suit. Love the fact that the floats in each chamber are made up of two foam pieces so you can customise it to balance your little one out and reduce them as they get more competent in the water. Our 18m old loves how he can be so independent in it. although I would say he becomes to reliant on it and could possibly hinder his learning how to swim properly so we use it for fun swim sessions and alternate it with another suit without the floats."
This cute little swimsuit comes in a number of fun prints (with matching hats) and is available in sizes from 3-6months, to 2-3 years. We love the cute frill design, and the in-built nappy, keeping accidents to a minimum.
Review: "I bought this suit in the flamingo print design. Myself and my daughter absolutely love it. Very cute ruffle detail and a really good fit."
These adorable little swimming trunks come in a number of cute shades for your tot this summer. The in-built nappy keeps accidents contained, and the shorts are accepted at most pools. Available in sizes from 0-3 months to 2-3 years.
Review: "Lovely pair of swim shorts, a little bit long in the leg but perfect on the waist. Cute designs. I wouldn't put my toddler in any other brand for swim wear!"
A M&B gold award winner, this brilliant little nappy is a must-have in every baby swim bag. It’s cute, reliable and comes in a number of bright designs your little one will love. They dry fast and are comfortable for little ones to wear. Available in sizes 0-24 months.
Review: "Can’t comment on comfort really as is my 5 month old wearing this but he seems comfortable in the Happy Nappy and it fits nicely over the swim nappy and isn’t too tight around his waist/legs but we did go for a size he had room to grow into. He wears this under a swim suit but some babies in our class wear just a disposable swim nappy and the Happy Nappy. This washes really well, has kept its shape and hasn’t shrunk or stretched when I’ve washed it on a 20 or 30oc wash."
Read our full review of the Splash About Happy Nappy.
This cute swim nappy comes in a number of fun prints and has been designed to keep accidents better contained. With coordinating hats available, you’re bound to fall in love with one of these cute looks. Available in sizes from birth to three years.
Review: "I got one of these nappies for my toddler and also my imminent newborn. The quality is great and the colours are bright and patterns are clear. Lovely!"
This super soft rash vest is available in four unisex colours and is made from recycled nylon, providing the highest sun protection possible. Available in sizes one to five years.
Review: "Such a great top, gorgeous colour, feels lovely and soft and fits perfectly with room to grow for my three and a half year old. Can’t wait to use it all summer!"
Made from 85 per cent Recycled Polyester Repreve and 15 per cent stretchy Elastane, this fabric has a UPF 40+ rating. Flat seams to help prevent irritation, there's a full zip fastening on the back for easy dressing with a zip guard too. The high neckline, 3/4 length sleeves and shorts are ideal for keeping elbows, knees and neck covered and protected from the sun.
What's not to love about this gorgeous Boden surf suit? It's made from UPF 40+ fabric to protect that delicate skin and the zip at the front makes for hassle-free changes. Available from two months to four years.
Review: "Bought this for a toddler as an option for future kids to also wear (whatever their gender is). My child is 3 1/2, and the swimsuit (3-4 years) fits well, but I can definitely see her wearing this next year too. I'm really happy with the quality of it, the protection it provides, and I think the jungle pattern is so cute (my daughter LOVES it)."