Why Get Wetsuits for Kids
Most wetsuits for children have UV protection, so parents get them to protect their kids from harmful UV rays while swimming or being out near the water. There are other reasons to consider getting a child's wetsuit though. Wetsuits also protect children from cold temperatures. Kids have less muscle and fat than adults and can go from cool to hypothermia in a blink when swimming in colder waters. A wetsuit keeps them warm even if the water is relatively cool.
Aside from this, wetsuits also offer protection from underwater hazards such as jellyfish stings, bites from small mites in the water, and abrasions from rocks. They allow children to enjoy their time in the water safely and comfortably.
What To Look for In a Good Wetsuit for Kids
Kids quickly outgrow their clothes. Spending a fortune on a wetsuit that they’ll be using for just one season seems like a waste of money. However, you shouldn’t sacrifice comfort and safety. Low-quality wetsuits do not stretch well and offer little heat insulation. So, it’s best to invest in high-quality wetsuits with interior linings.
Thicker kids’ wetsuits give them extra buoyancy. For kids, wetsuit thickness of 2mm to 4mm is adequate for leisurely water activities in tropical waters. Choose thicker materials to retain more body heat and keep kids warm when the air temperature is low.
Size and Fit
Wetsuits are designed to fit snugly. There must be a close firm fit on the neck, wrists, and ankles to prevent water from flushing in. Always check the size chart when buying wetsuits. For your child, getting one size bigger is perfectly fine to allow them to move around comfortably without leaving too much space for water flush or causing neck irritation. But for older kids engaging in active sports, tighter fits are better.
Cheap suits often have poor seam construction with overlock seams that irritate and chafe the skin. To avoid this, look for children's wetsuits with flatlock or blind stitched seams. Both wetsuit seams have no raised sections or protruding materials that lead to chaffing. Blind stitched seams provide more protection from water flushing and better heat insulation.
To get ample skin protection during swimming lessons or water play, look for wetsuits with a UPF50+ rating. This will protect your kid's skin during all-day play in the water.
Wetsuit Styles for Kids
Wetsuit styles for kids are similar to those for adults. There are full wetsuits, spring suits, and two-piece suits.
Covering the entire body from wrists to ankles, a full-body suit keeps your child warm and is ideal as a winter suit. They’re best used during winter or in areas where the water temperature goes below 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
A spring suit is a wetsuit with short sleeves and short legs. A shorty wetsuit can also leave arms unprotected. It's mostly used during spring and summer when water temperatures are warm and comfortable. It makes for a great kid wetsuit and toddler wetsuits for warmer temperatures.
Two-piece suits are made up of separate tops and bottoms. The top rash guard can either be long-sleeved or short-sleeved. The bottom also varies in length from bikini size to full pants length. They don’t offer much protection from cold waters so they’re best used during summer or in tropical areas.
Best Wetsuits for Kids and Juniors
The best wetsuits for kids and juniors are those that balance safety and protection with comfort and mobility. Buell Surf does exactly this with its Ninja Neoprene wetsuits that maximize flexibility with its Ultraspan flex-fabric. The seams are triple glued and blind stitched for ultimate comfort.
With a diverse collection of long-sleeved, short-sleeved, and full suit types, you can easily find the best wetsuit for your little boys and girls. Whether you get a front zip kid's wetsuit or a back zip entry, long sleeve wetsuit, covering your child will have great mobility and no skin irritation during swim lessons and on the beach.
Kids Wetsuit Thickness: What to know
Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimeters and vary from 2mm to 6mm. The thicker the suit the more warmth it retains, but it provides less flexibility. When choosing the right wetsuit thickness for kids' wetsuits consider not only the temperature but also the activity.
2mm to 3mm wetsuits are great for summer and for tropical areas where water temperatures are higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit. For colder climates, 4mm to 5mm suits provide adequate protection from hypothermia. 6mm suits keep the most heat in but can restrict movement, especially for the little ones.
Keep in mind that as thickness increases, flexibility decreases. So, for kids engaging in active water sports, opt for thinner neoprene with seamless paddle zones. Also, consider wetsuits that are thicker in the torso area to protect the core and thinner on the arms and legs to allow more flexibility.
Difference Among Wetsuit Zippers
Wetsuits typically come with a back zipper, chest zipper, or no zipper at all. Choosing the best kids’ wetsuits depends on their personal preference and where they intend to use them.
Traditional wetsuits have back zippers that run from the top downwards varying in length from just a few inches to all the way down to the waist. Back zip wetsuits are the easiest to get into because of their wide openings on the upper body. For toddlers, this means no wriggling and squirming to pull a full-length suit up. However, back zip wetsuits have limited stretch and flexibility, especially for water sports. They also tend to cause water flushing that can send a shock of cold water down the spine.
Chest zip wetsuits combine flexibility and seal. Placed horizontally or diagonally across the chest, they do not hamper movement and cause less water flushing.
Zipperless wetsuits create a tight seal with overlapping layers of neoprene and minimize water flushing. They offer the most flexibility but are the trickiest to get into. So, be prepared for lots of squirming and wriggling.
Cleaning And Care for Your Kids Wetsuits
Wetsuits require more specialized care than your usual bathing suits. They tend to absorb salts from the beach and chemicals from pool water, so they must be soaked in fresh, cool water before washing. When washing, open all zippers and turn the wetsuit inside out, do your best to remove all the sand, and then proceed to wash with wetsuit shampoo. If you have none, use baby shampoo or baking soda. Make sure to avoid harsh detergents that can ruin neoprene. Lastly, rinse thoroughly in cold water and leave to dry in a shaded area. Hang the wetsuit from the waist to keep its shape or use a hanger specially designed for wetsuits. Once the exposed side is dry, turn the wetsuit again to dry both sides. Make sure the wetsuit is thoroughly clean and completely dry before storing it in between seasons to prevent unpleasant odors and molds.