The best baby swimwear for infants and toddlers

baby swimwear

by Samantha Ball |
Updated on

Finding the best baby swimwear on the market is the key to making sure that your baby is comfortable and safe in the water. Whether it's for a weekend splash in the paddling pool or that first family trip to the beach, as well as baby sunscreen, your baby will need suitable swim nappies and swimwear.

Before you begin shopping for baby or toddler swimwear, it's important to know what you're buying it for, as different swimwear items can serve different purposes. For example, if you're planning on taking your baby or toddler to their first swimming lesson, then you'll want a decent swim nappy and swimsuit or baby swim vest that aids in floating.

However, if it's for your child to wear at the beach or to mess around in outside, then you'll definitely want to consider swimwear that has sun protection and maybe invest in the baby swim shoes to protect their feet.

Best baby swimwear for infants and toddlers 2023 shortlist:

Best overall baby swimwear: Splash About Baby Warm-in-One

Best reusable baby swimwear: Splash About Happy Nappy

Best baby swimwear for ease of dressing: Splash About Baby Wrap Wetsuit

The best baby and toddler swimwear 2023

Best overall baby swimwear

This super-soft, fleece-lined Splash About Baby Warm-in-One is ideal for babies splashing in the sea or if they're prone to feeling a chill in the pool. With long arm and leg sleeves, as well as UPF protection of 50+, your little one's soft skin will be protected from the sun's harsh rays. It's particularly good for babies with sensitive skin and skin conditions, such as eczema, as the suit blocks in barrier cream for those who require it. Available in sizes from birth to 12 months.

One parent review said: "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."

Pros

  • Long sleeves, legs and fleece lining for extra warmth
  • Available in a range of cute and colourful designs
  • UPF50+ sun protection

Cons

  • It does require a bit of gentle tugging to remove
Washing instructions:N/A
  • Fleece lined
  • Long sleeve and leg designed

Best UV protection swimwear

Slipfree are best known for their non-slip shoes, however, they also have a beautiful variety of swimwear available for 2-11 year olds. The swimwear collection includes swimming costumes, swim vests and swim trunks. With a set of beautiful designs such as this pastel ice cream pattern, Slipfree swimwear is machine washable, fast drying and offers the ever-important UPF 50+ protection parents look out for.

Mother&Baby Digital Group Editor Maria Martin says: "Slipfree's swimwear has really impressed me. Their swimming costumes and swim shorts are good quality and include UV-protective materials – a huge plus for me when buying swimwear for my children. The designs are beautiful, I've absolutely fallen in love with this pastel ice cream pattern and Slipfree's dinosaur swim shorts. Pair these up with swim vests for the kiddies and you have the perfect set of fun, functional and protective swimwear for your tots."

Pros

  • Available in a wide age range - 2-11 year olds
  • Beautiful designs and patterns
  • Good quality
  • Easy to wash
  • UPF 50+ protection
  • Quick drying

Cons

  • No sizing for babies
Washing instructions: Machine washable
  • Quick drying
  • UPF 50+ protection

Best reusable baby swimwear

best-baby-swimwear
Price: $11-£13.99
Alternative retailers
Walmart$13.99View offer
Macy's$19.00View offer

Swim nappies and swim pants for babies are children's swimwear essentials. Voted Bronze winner for Best Swim Product in the Mother&Baby 2023 Awards, this brilliant little Splash About Happy Nappy is a must-have in every baby and toddler 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 from birth up to two to three years.

Our parent tester said: "We have used this both at home for swimming lessons and in the paddling pool, and away on holiday in the hotel swimming pools. It saved us so many disposable swim nappies, especially when we were on holiday and my baby was in and out of the pool a lot. I would have been using 3-4 disposable swimming nappies a day if I hadn't brought this Splash About one with us."

Read the full Splash About Happy Nappy review.

Pros

  • Available in a range of brightly coloured designs
  • Suitable for babies and toddler
  • UPF50+

Cons

  • Hand wash only
  • Only holds in solids, not urine
Washing instructions: Handwash only
  • Multiple designs available
  • Sizes from 0-3 months up to 4-5 years
  • Reusable
  • Can be worn alone or with liners

Best baby swimwear for easy dressing

best-baby-swimwear

Rrp: $28.00

Price: $25.00
Alternative retailers
Walmart$25.00View offer

This cute little Splash About Baby Wrap Wetsuit is available in a number of different prints and is great when it comes to keeping your baby warm during their first outing to the beach. As well as being made from 2mm 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 its clever design, ideal for when your little one is covered in sand. Available in sizes from 6 to 30 months.

One parent review said: "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 a reusable swim nappy only as doesn't fit with board shorts underneath. The size was accurate to measurements rather than age, as is often the way with baby and toddler items, as they're all different!"

Pros

  • UPF50+ protection, great for beach days
  • Legs and arms can move freely
  • Warm material, perfect for in the pool

Cons

  • Need to remember to layer up sunscreen on legs and arms if outside

Best disposable baby swimwear nappy

These disposable Huggies Little Swimmers in Size 2-3 give your baby the freedom to enjoy the water without the worry of little accidents happening. The unique absorbent material ensures these nappies don't swell in the water, and they have unique easy-open sides for quick removal when your baby is wet, as well as leak guards to help prevent leaks around the legs. Available in sizes 3-4 and 5-6

One parent review said: "These swim nappies are great, they fit nicely, are easy to put on and take off, and so far, no leaks or accidents."

Read the full Huggies Little Swimmers Size 2-3, 12 Pack review.

Pros

  • Comes in cute Disney Dory print to make swim nappies look like swimwear
  • Easy to get on and off
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not great for the environment
  • No sun protection
Washing instructions:N/A
  • Doesn't swell or fall apart in water
  • Leak guards on legs

Best designed baby swimwear

Another reusable swim nappy our Mother&Baby parent reviewers were big fans of was the Bambino Mio reusable swim nappy. It has a concealed water-resistant layer and leakproof 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 in sizes from birth to two years.

One parent review said: "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 two so she could wear one while the other was washed and dried."

Read the full Bambino Mio Reusable Swim Nappy review.

Pros

  • Available in 14 prints
  • Safe for washing machines and tumble dryers
  • Adjustable drawstring waistband for easy changing

Cons

  • A little on the small size
Washing instructions: Wash up to 40 degrees
  • Lightweight
  • Water resistant with leak proof legs
  • Super soft cotton fabric

Best baby swimwear with built-in nappy

Our Mother&Baby parent reviewers found another great buy called Splash About Children's Happy Nappy Wetsuit. This two-in-one product is a baby and toddler wetsuit incorporated with a full Happy Nappy. The super-soft 1mm thick neoprene and long sleeves provide warmth in the pool or while playing on the beach, and it's super easy to get on and off, even when wet. Available in sizes from birth up to 24 months.

One parent review said: "Love these swimsuits for our little ones. They aren't cheap but will last as they grow. Keeps them warm when in the pool and not slippery when holding onto the baby. Built-in Happy Nappy is an excellent as it provides additional protection to a regular swim nappy. Have just bought the next size up, as I've had this one over a year."

Read the full Splash About Children's Happy Nappy Wetsuit review.

Pros

  • No need to worry about additional swim nappy
  • Available in a range of fun, child-friendly prints
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Easy to get on and off with long zip down the back

Cons

  • Exposed arms and legs are not protected from the sun
Washing instructions: N/A
  • UPF 50+ Sun protection
  • Prevents solid leaks
  • Super soft

Best baby swimwear with floats

A great product that does pretty much everything in one, this Splash About Kids Sun Protection 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 in sizes from one to six years.

One parent review said: "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 18-month-old loves how he can be so independent in it, although I would say he becomes too 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."

Pros

  • Available in four brightly coloured designs
  • UPF 50+ sun protection
  • Great for helping children learn how to swim
  • Chlorine resistant material

Cons

  • Hand wash only
Washing instructions:Handwash only
  • UPF 50 + Sun protection
  • Swim support aids
  • Offers full coverage

Best baby swimwear for feet

Having a pair of baby/toddler swim shoes can be ideal to protect your child's tiny feet from sharp objects at the beach, or to stop them from slipping at the pool. These Swimbubs Kids Water Shoes are made from soft polyester and spandex, so they're easy to pull on, and they fit snugly like a sock. The soles are made from rubber, so your mind can rest easy that your child's soft feet are fully protected from any stones, shells or slip hazards.

One parent review said: "I cannot express how essential this item is when going to the swimming pool or the beach. They keep those little toes safe. They are easy to put on. Easy to wash. Love the price too. Very good quality. All mums out there, I can't recommend those enough! It is a must-have."

Pros

  • Rubber sole for extra grip
  • Soft material for extra comfort and ease putting on
  • Tab at the back makes these easy to take off

Cons

  • Only available in two colours
Washing instructions:Handwash in cold water and hang in shade
  • Rubber soles for grip
  • Heel pull loop
  • Lightweight and quick drying

Best baby swimwear with long sleeve

A Bambino Mio Swim Rash Top is always handy for pairing with a swim nappy to ensure your child is still protected from the sun on the top half of their body or to provide some extra warmth. This long-sleeve one from Bambino Mio comes in six colourful sea-inspired prints. The fabric has UPF40+ sun protection, and it's safe to go in the washing machine and tumble dryer — result! Available in sizes from birth to 2 years.

One parent review said: "Brilliant! So lightweight and dries very fast. Perfect for the beach or playing in water in the garden. Such lovely patterns, and they wash well too."

Read more Bambino Mio Swim Rash Top review.

Pros

  • Easy to wash and dry
  • Available in a range of colours/designs
  • Made from a blend of cotton and polyester for a soft, stretchy fit

Cons

  • Not as high sun protection as some baby/toddler swimsuits
Washing instructions:Machine wash
  • UPF 40+ Sun protection
  • Durable material

Best baby swimwear vest

A baby or toddler swim vest will give your little one that extra bit of support by helping them stay afloat in the water, putting your mind at ease. This lightweight yet durable Splash About Go Splash Float Jacket is perfect for playing in the pool or a trip to the beach. It's made from a quick-drying fabric and is designed to be hardwearing but comfortable for your little one. Available in sizes from 1 to 6 years.

Our parent reviewer, Julie, said: "This product gave me the confidence to take my really hyper, fearless 2-year-old to the swimming pool for the first time. It's so simple putting the vest on your child, it's reassuring knowing you can't put it on wrong. It definitely made the whole experience much more relaxed than it would have been without the vest or with other kinds of buoyancy aids."

Read our full Splash About Go Splash Float Jacket review.

Pros

  • Available in eight fun prints
  • Lightweight
  • UPF50 + Sun Protection
  • Made from sand-resistant Neoprene 

Cons

  • The sizes are quite wide-ranging 
Washing instructions:Cold wash
  • Non-removable floats
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Zip up and Velcro

Best baby swimwear shorts

These MaaMgic Little Boys Beach Trunk are an incredibly funky design, and the bright colour also makes it safer for little ones in the water as it's easier to spot. They have a soft mesh liner and an elastic drawstring waist. The beach shorts also have two side pockets and Velcro back pocket.

One parent review said: "Great pair of boys swimming shorts with elasticated waist & adjustable cord tie. They have an inner mesh section & fit well. The fabric is very comfortable to wear & it is UPF50+ to give sun protection. The shorts will dry very quickly whenever they get wet from going in the swimming pool or in the sea. The 2 side pockets & velcro-closing back pocket are very useful as many swim shorts have no pockets which is not very convenient"

Pros

  • Fun print
  • Convenient pockets
  • Quick drying
  • UPF 50+

Cons

  • No built-in nappy for younger ones
Washing instructions:N/A
  • Quick drying
  • UPF 50+ Sun protection
  • Soft mesh liner

Choosing the right Baby and Toddler Swimwear

While you might be tempted to choose the swimwear you think your baby will look cute in, there are several different factors that should be considered when shopping for baby and toddler swimwear.

Sun protection: If you're getting swimwear for your child to wear outdoors, you'll want the material to have Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) to protect their soft, delicate skin. We've tried to include as many children's swimwear items with UPF as possible, but if an item doesn't have it, then make sure you follow the NHS guidelines as to how long your child should spend in direct sunlight. Also, make sure you apply an SPF of at least factor 30, whether your child's swimwear does or doesn't have UPF protection.

Vibrant colours: Opt for bright, bold colours to make sure your child is easy to identify when out and about. Neon colours are particularly good. Avoid muted colours that blend in too easily with your surroundings such as blues.

Ease of use: Just like getting clothes on your child can prove difficult at times, so can dressing them in swimwear. To make both of your lives easier (and happier), opt for swimwear items that require little hassle, with poppers, zips, and Velcro fastenings.

Different types of Swimwear

Depending on where you plan to go swimming would depend on what kind of swimwear your baby might need to wear.

Reusable or disposable nappies: essential for babies or toddlers who aren't potty trained, swim nappies are a must. You can get reusable swim nappies that double up as swimwear, with cute patterns and designs. These are ideal for warmer swimming days.

Swimsuit or wetsuit: Baby swimsuits come in an array of different styles and can be two-pieces or all-in-ones.

Wetsuits are designed to cover your little one's arms and legs and often help to keep your baby warmer and more protected from sunlight when in the water, and chemicals from the water itself.

Always check the label on your child's swimwear before washing, as this will have specific instructions on how to care for the item. If your child has been in the sea or swimming pool, then it's best to give their swimwear a rinse in water before washing to remove chlorine/salt water.

A good way to do this is by popping your child into the shower in their swim stuff so it gets a good rinse.

Avoid leaving your child's swimwear wrapped up in a towel, as this can lead to the seawater/chlorine doing more damage. Never pop their items in the washing machine or tumble dryer either, as they can actually damage your swimwear unless the label states that you can.

When can my baby go swimming?

The NHS advice on swimming is that you can take your baby swimming at any age, both before and after they have been vaccinated.

Where can I take my baby swimming?

You may be keen to take your baby or toddler to swimming lessons. If so, then there are lots of swimming lessons for young children based all over the country. A few include Turtle Tots, Water Babies, Aquatots, Puddle Ducks and Little Dippers.

Does my baby need a nappy when swimming?

Your baby should wear a swim nappy when they go swimming as they are designed to not become waterlogged and uncomfortable for your baby. Normal nappies should not be worn as they are quick to absorb liquid and will irritate your baby. If spending time outside in the sun, you'll also want to pick up some baby sunglasses too.

Do you need to wash baby after swimming?

Washing your baby after going swimming is not something you need to do straight away, as after leaving the pool it's important to get them dry and warm.

Once home, however, you should bathe your baby to rinse off the water from the swimming pool as the chlorine can irritate your little one's skin, as their skin is very delicate and sensitive.

Samantha Ball is a Product & Lifestyle Writer for Mother&Baby and freelanced for the website for two years before joining the team full time. She's a mum of two and loves browsing for the best products and cute outfits.

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