For kids who spend a lot of time in the water, a kids' wetsuit can be like magic. Whether they're taking swimming lessons, swimming or planking at the beach, or splashing around in an inflatable pool with friends. Wetsuits make cold water temperatures more comfortable, giving kids the opportunity to play in the water all day without complaining.
While it can be painful to put them on and take them off, wetsuits have many benefits. Made of rubber and nylon called neoprene, children's wetsuits are naturally buoyant, making it easier for kids to float. (It's important to note that it's not safe to use wetsuits as floatation devices.) The material also helps protect kids from being scratched by things in the water or stung by jellyfish, from the sun's harmful UV rays and from sand getting in all over the place. Plus, wetsuits are cool too, especially if your kids like the surfer vibe.
There are multiple types of wetsuits available with their style, material, body coverage, design and thickness (3mm offers more thickness than 2mm), which can be a bit overwhelming. We've provided some great tips for finding the right wetsuit for your child.
Children's wetsuits come in similar styles and thicknesses to adult suits: undershirt jumpsuits, short sleeves/short legs (spring suits) and traditional full suits. The best kids' suits will have easier entry or exit strategies, such as Velcro on the shoulders and zippers on the ankles. If kids don't like anything too tight over their heads, a back-zip wetsuit is better than a chest-zip or no-zip wetsuit.
Spring suits are wetsuits with "short" arms and legs that cover just below the knee and above the elbow, and are usually only 2mm or 3mm thick.
These suits are suitable for climates where the air is warm/hot and the water is slightly cooler (70 degree F range). Or on windy days, it is nice to have a layer of coverage.
A full wetsuit is a wetsuit that provides full coverage up to the ankles and wrists. Full suits range in thickness from 2 mm to 5 mm. I really don't recommend a 4 or 5mm extra thick wetsuit for kids unless you are in a cold place doing something that requires
something that requires it.
This is because the thicker the wetsuit, the more challenging it is to put on (a 2 mm spring suit is sometimes stiff enough) and they are stiffer to put on and therefore more difficult to move.
If your family plans to go to places where the water is a little cooler in the summer, I would recommend buying a full suit in 2mm or 3mm.
As far as determining the right size, we highly recommend referring to the size chart. If a child fits into one size weight category and another size height, then please consider how your child will wear the pants. Neoprene can be stretched to fit and it should fit snugly, otherwise it will not keep your child as warm as expected. If your child is a ball of muscle, choose height over weight. If you have a slim child, then go with weight over height.
Your child's wetsuit should fit snugly and have no loose openings at the neck/arms/ankles. A wetsuit that is too big will "flush" the cold water and make wearing it pointless. It should fit snugly, but not so tight that it feels like it's cutting into the neck/arms/legs.
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