Advice on buying children wetsuit – tried and tested!

1. Do kids need wetsuits in warm waters?
Wetsuits offer more protection when kids are in the water.  This can help to prevent any unnecessary cuts or scrapes when they are taking part in energetic activities.  Also the longer the kids spend in the water the colder they will get.  This means that they could get cold even if the water conditions are warm.  Wetsuits are a great idea for any kids that love swimming or other water sports as they provide extra protection and warmth whatever the conditions.

2.  What are shortie wetsuits?
Shortie wetsuits are ideal for kids as they are easy to get on and provide plenty of movement.  Basically theses wetsuits have short sleeves and short legs and are ideal for warm water conditions.  Kids can wear shorties in outdoor pools and in the ocean during the summer. However if they are in the water during the winter or in colder water conditions then a full length wetsuit will be required to keep them warm.

3.  How do I get the right fit for a kid’s wetsuit?
Kids grow so fast it can be difficult to get the right fit for them.  This is why it is important to check the wetsuit measurement guides before you buy the suit.  Always get kids to try suits on before they wear them in the water to check they fit well.  You cannot buy a larger suit for them to ‘grow into’.  This will be too loose for them and allow cold water to flush through the suit.  Not only is this uncomfortable but it will also prevent the wetsuit from keeping them warm.  A wetsuit should be close fitting without being too tight.  You should take measures from throat to crutch for the wearer of the suit to help you ensure the right fit.

4. What thickness suit should I buy for my child?
This will depend on the water conditions. If they are going to be swimming in tropical waters then a 2mm or 3/2mm suit would be adequate.  If they are going to be in cooler conditions (such as the UK in autumn/winter) then a 4/3mm or 5mm suit would be more appropriate.  However, if they are only going to be splashing and swimming for a short time 3/2mm is more than appropriate. The thicker the suit the less flexibility so if you are buying a 5mm then it is a good idea to invest in a 100% super stretch neoprene suit.  This provides the best combination of flexibility and warmth.

5.  What is a flatlock seam?
When you are choosing wetsuits for your children you need to think about the seam structure.  Standard wetsuits have flatlock seams, which are flat and do not cause any irritation. Cheaper wetsuits can have overlock seams which have raised sections on the interior.  These need to be avoided as they are not very waterproof and they can rub and chafe causing sore patches on the skin.  Taped and blindstitched seams provide much better waterproofing and can improve thermal insulation in colder conditions.

6. How do I look after kid’s wetsuits?
All wetsuits will need to be looked after carefully to ensure they last as long as possible.  You need to wash and clean wetsuits after every use.  Buy some special gentle wetsuit shampoo as this will clean neoprene without damaging it like harsh detergents can do.  Although you shouldn’t really put wetsuits in the washing machine if your kids wear wetsuits frequently then this could save you a lot of time.  Make sure you only put them in on cool, gentle wash and only use wetsuit cleaner.  Dry them thoroughly before putting them away.  It can also help if you soak wetsuits in fresh cool water before you wash them.  This will help to remove any embedded salts or chemicals.

7. Can I repair torn neoprene wetsuits?
Kids can be hard on wetsuits and they can get little tears and rips.  You can fix minor damage to wetsuits yourself using a neoprene repair kit.   Wash the wetsuit first and dry it thoroughly.  Repair kit instructions will vary but in general you will need to gently peel apart the two sides of the rip and then dab on some repair glue.  Leave to dry for a few minutes and then push the two sides together and hold in place until they stick.  This should take a few hours to dry properly but you should leave the wetsuit for at least 24hrs just to make sure the glue has thoroughly set.

8.  Will kids need wetsuits when sailing?
The great thing about wetsuits is that not only do they keep you warm in the water, but they can also reduce wind chill and keep you warm on dry land as well.  If your kids are going to be spending a long time out on the water in dinghies or sail boats then a wetsuit can help to keep them warm both in and out of the water.  It will also protect them from water spray.

Many sailing lessons also involve some time in the water practising emergency drills.  Wetsuits provide additional buoyancy and this will help to support the life vest they will be wearing and also keep them warm whilst they are in the water.

9.  Purchasing a wetsuit?
Funswim has sold wetsuit for children for over 6 years. The brands we have are TWF (https://www.funswim.co.uk/product/twf-childrens-kids-2mm-shortie-shorty-childs-wetsuit-with-pirate-motif/), Splash About (https://www.funswim.co.uk/product/splash-about-happy-nappy-wetsuit-new-baby-snug/), Konfidence (https://www.funswim.co.uk/product/konfidence-warma-uv-wetsuit-childrens-sportswear-sea-beach-kids-swim-2-7-years/) and now Close Parent (https://www.funswim.co.uk/product/close-parent-pop-in-toddler-snug-swim-suit-swim-wetsuit-upf50-sun-protection/). As children grow so quickly we sell wetsuits that combine quality and affordability. We have tested all three brands on our own children too. In fact, our youngest son (11) is still using on a regular basis a TWF Pirate Shorty and he spends many happy hours in the sea – whatever the weather or the North Sea temperature.

Happy Swimming!