While swimming your child should be protected with strong waterproof sun block and should also wear long sleeved swimwear as there is a high risk of burning in the water. Swim wear is available with built in factor 50 UV protection and this will offer additional assistance in preventing sunburn. You can purchase UV protected swimwear in Mothercare, Boots, Jojo Maman Bebe, Penneys/ Primark and Tesco. UV protected beach shoes are also an option for older toddlers, especially if the sand on the beach is hot or uncomfortable to walk on. These are available from Mothercare.
Click here for tips on sun protection.
Younger kids should wear swim nappies in the water under their swim suits. Happy Nappy is also a good brand and is available at Boots Chemists and Jojo Maman Bebe (£10.00). This offers full protection built into a pair of swimming pants and are also reusable and washable and are suitable for babies and toddlers up to 24 months. Huggies Little Swimmers are available to buy in Tesco and Boots and in most large supermarkets. They are to be worn under swimsuits. Boots Baby Swim Pants are similar and are available in Boots Chemists. Many tourist towns and resorts have swim nappies readily available to buy and you may even be able to buy them in your hotel.
Learning to Swim/ Swim Safety
Children of all ages should always supervised while swimming. Any time you’re near water, have your child wear a personal flotation device (PFD) that fits properly and is approved CE standards. Never dip a baby under water as they are more susceptible to the bacteria and viruses in pool water and lakes that can cause gastroenteritis and diarrhoea.
PFDs – A swimsuit with built in foam is great from a safety point of view and allows your child to feel more confident in the water. There are a number of excellent products on the market. Mothercare stocks a Float Safe Suit which is suitable for kids over the age of 1 and comes in a range of sizes. The Zoggs Swim Jacket is available from Boots and is worn over swimwear. It also comes in a range of sizes. Mothercare also stock an own brand safety jacket.
Swim Trainer Seats
Swim trainer seats allow your baby to get used to the water without submerging them too much. They also offer support to the back, neck and chest. Zoggs Swim Trainer Seat is available in Boots for babies up to a maximum weight of 11 kg. Mothercare also stocks an own brand seat for babies up to 2 years old. Amazon and Jojo Maman Bebe have swim seats for size 0-12 months and 12 to 24 months. Children should use these under constant supervision as they do not prevent drowning. Toddler swim floats are for children aged 2-3 years and are in the same style as swim trainer seats. Again, they offer support to the neck, back and chest. Jojo Maman Bebe sell these for £15.00.
Arm Bands, Swim Rings and Hand Floats
Arm bands are suitable for toddlers over the age of 3 months and help them to learn to swim confidently and safely. Zoggs Swim Arm bands for kids aged 1 to 6 years are available in Mothercare and Jojo Maman Bebe stock baby and toddler armbands for £6.00. There are two sizes available, 3 months to 24 months (up to 15kg) and for age 2 – 6 years (15-30 kg). Children should use these under constant supervision as they do not prevent drowning.
Boots and Mothercare also stock swim rings which are more suited to older toddlers. Toddler hand floats are also available from Jojo Maman Bebe for £6.00. These are designed to help boost swimming confidence once a child is out of armbands.
Protection for Eyes and Ears
If the water is very salty or has a lot of chlorine it may be uncomfortable for your baby’s eyes. Zoggs Swim Goggles are available in Boots Chemists for 0 -6 year olds.
If your child is prone to ear infections or has grommets, Ear Bandits are a great option. These are a combination of earplugs and an adjustable velcro fastening headband that wraps over the ears helps prevent water entering the ear canal. They are £11.95 online at Koolsun.
Zoggs Pool Toys are available from Boots and Jojo Maman Bebe and provide entertainment for babies and toddlers in the water they are particularly useful for nervous swimmers. Zoggs Dive Rings are a great way to encourage children to swim and are available in Boots or Jojo Bebe Maman. You simply throw the ring and ask your toddler to bring it back. You can also arrange fun races with these.