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With the cost of the hi-tech materials used to make wetsuits coming down, wetsuits for kids are becoming even more affordable.
- Keep your child warmer, for longer
- Offer protection against wind and sun
- Let children play for longer in the water as the greater buoyancy means they do not get as tired
- Offer some protection against external problems such as jellyfish
The result is that vacations and family days out are so much more enjoyable for everyone!
Choosing Wetsuits For Kids
The most important thing for anyone wearing a wetsuit is that it should be comfortable and allow freedom of movement. For rapidly growing children, this can be tricky. However, as children are unlikely to need a wetsuit to cope with extremes of cold and weather, a shorty suit a good option for them. These provide extra warmth for the torso where it is needed, keeping the core temperature up, while the short arms and legs provide freedom of movement for play both in and out of the water.
The most important measurement is the length of the suit between the shoulder and crotch. Too short and kids feel uncomfortable with downward pressure on their shoulders and the suit pulling up between their legs. For very small children, sleeveless ‘infant suits’ are available with adjustable shoulders to allow the suit to be lengthened to accommodate the rapidly growing small child.
Full suits obviously offer maximum protection and are popular for scuba diving. For general use, they are not as popular as the shorty type with short arms and legs that allow more freedom of movement and that makes a suit fit for longer!
Wetsuits For Kids – Look For:
- Choose a suit with good seals around the arms, legs, and neck. These are areas where chafing can occur. As children’s skin tends to be more delicate than adult’s, softer, stretchier material here will help.
- Choosing a suit with three or four-way stretch neoprene panels will allow maximum freedom of movement and make swimming in the suit less tiring.
- For the same reason, choose a suit with flat-lock seams; these are smooth on the inside and will not chafe your child’s skin.
- A rash guard made of lycra is a very good idea for wearing inside a child’s suit as it provides more warmth, an extra layer of protection against possible chafing and helps your child to take off and put on the wetsuit more easily.
- Suits with front zippers also make dressing and undressing much easier for smaller children but in practice, there will always be someone to lend a hand so it is not a major problem.
Choosing The Right Wetsuit Thickness For Kids
No child is going to be using a wetsuit in extremely cold temperatures so kids wetsuits tend to go up to 5mm thickness, designed for water temperatures up to 70°F. A 3mm suit will be fine in water temperatures up to 85°F and for anything over that, a 2mm suit is sufficient. Combination suits offering thicker neoprene panels on the torso to keep the core of the body warmer are excellent wetsuits for kids and particularly, for ‘skinny’ kids!