8th June 2017. Swimming is a fun activity beloved by children all over the world. Whether splashing in the ocean or a small pool behind the home, it's an excellent way to beat the heat while burning plenty of energy. For kids, that type of engaging physical activity is critical for their development both now and into the future. It's often not hard to interest a child in swimming, but parents have considerations beyond their child's level of interest. There is the matter of their skill in the water, of course. Beyond that, though, is something a little more basic: their swimwear. For adults, swimwear is often an aesthetic or highly functional choice. Kids don't need a highly-engineered bodysuit designed for fast performance in the water. They need comfortable, safe, and functional swimwear that works in a variety of situations. Many children will have the opportunity to swim at school, for example; choosing swimwear for such an occasion will be very different than purchasing some for a holiday trip. So how should you go about this task? What features are out there, and what swimwear is best for different situations? Let's look at that now and lay out the basics of buying proper swimming gear for your kids.
Comfort and fit: the first priority
Few things can sour a child's excitement for swimming as much as an uncomfortable swimsuit. Young children especially often make their displeasure of clothing they don't like well known. With that in mind, comfort should always be your goal when shopping for kids? swimwear. However, that doesn't mean you need to compromise on a good fit, either. It's a balancing act. What should you look for to avoid? For girls, be mindful of the tightness of shoulder straps. As an essential part of practically all types of swimwear for girls, these straps often come with buckles to allow you to make adjustments. Some don't, though. Straps that cut into the skin due to tightness aren't fun to wear, but you also don't want them to slip off all the time. Halter-style tops that involve tying the straps behind the neck can be more comfortable. For boys, swim trunks are the usual choice. Here, avoid bagginess and choose waistbands with a good drawstring. The ability to tighten the drawstring will make swimming easier (as baggy trunks increase drag) while keeping your son comfortable. Your child likely won't want swim jammers (which look like cycling shorts) due to the low amount of skin coverage, but they are an ideal choice for fitness-focused teens. Overall, kids? swimwear usually comes down to personal preference. Most scenarios simply don't require the same level of high-level design seen in some adult swimwear. That doesn't mean it's a simple aesthetic choice, though. For kids who want to train and be better swimmers, there's gear for them too.
What about the type of fabric?
With kids who love to swim, proper swimsuit care is a big concern. Repeated exposure to water, especially the chlorine-laden water found in pools, can wreak havoc on all kinds of fabrics. Durability is, therefore, a very important factor to go alongside comfort. As you shop for swimwear, pay attention to the labels to see the fabric composition. There are four major types of fabric used in swimwear. They may appear as a mix or as garments made solely from the material. What should you keep an eye out for to get the best value and performance for your kids? Polyester is a very popular synthetic material, and there's no shortage of children's swimwear made with polyester. Why is it so well-liked? It has a natural resistance to moisture and chlorine's damaging effects don't come into play. As a result, it dries very rapidly once you leave the water and colours will not fade. Quick drying materials are an excellent choice, especially on breezy beaches and on other windy days. The faster the suit dries, the more comfortable your child will be overall. Nylon suits are more lightweight and provide even more durability than polyester. You'll often find nylon blended with Lycra (or spandex) to create a stretchier, more wearable garment. Suits of this blend will tend to focus more on fitness or sports applications due to their low drag in the water. Nonetheless, you may find these swimsuits wear out much faster than polyester suits. It is important to rinse away the chlorine and thoroughly dry the suit after use. Otherwise, the nylon can fray and eventually require replacement of the swimwear. Either of these fabric types will deliver a good level of comfort to your children. What about more specific needs, though? What if you have a child who is ready to join a school swim team, or who wants to become a faster swimmer? You can find swimwear to match their needs.
Considerations for kids' fitness swimwear
As mentioned, boys have an accessible option in the form of jammers. A full-body swimsuit is also an option, but with how quickly children grow, it is not the best one. Jammers will allow your child to reduce unnecessary friction in the water, leaving them more energy to devote to practising their swimming strokes. If your child doesn't like the idea of jammers, close-fitting swim trunks are also a good option. Look for a pair that billows out as little as possible in the water, that help to keep the water from slowing your son down ? or worse, generating enough force to pull the trunks off entirely! For girls, two-piece swimsuits should be avoided for fitness purposes, much as they should be for adults. They simply aren't stable enough under the stresses of swimming. However, there are many elegant one-piece suits perfect for girls of any age who want to get faster in the water. Ensure that they maintain full freedom of movement in both the legs and the arms. Look for a "racerback" style one-piece suit. These use cross-over straps and open back to increase comfort in the water while allowing for sleek movements in the water. Skip frilly designs or those that come with other decorations attached; these also can have a negative impact on swimming efficiency.
Swimming at school and on holiday
School swimwear should prioritise actual physical comfort as well, but you should also strongly consider coverage, especially for young girls. It's not so much a matter of modesty as it is personal comfort. It's not uncommon for children to love swimming at home but experience intense shyness at the idea of swimming with their peers. A swimsuit that provides kids with the feeling of being secure in what they wear can help enhance their experience. The school may also have its own requirements in place, so be mindful of these. Always opt for something that is quick and easy for your son or daughter to change in and out of; there's no need for anything complicated or fancy. When it's time to go on holiday, though, the sky is the limit! You may even want to let your child pick out their own suit. Sunburn can be a real problem, though, so opt for a good balance between colourful comfort and good skin cover. Some modern swimsuits contain materials to make them partially resistant to UV rays, making them an excellent choice for a holiday to the beach. Think back to our discussion of fabric types, though, as you shop. If you intend to move around in swimwear for much of the day, a faster drying fabric is the better choice.
Don't forget ? kids grow fast!
While all these hints and tips are helpful, you should remember that from one summer to the next, your child will likely need a new swimsuit. Children constantly grow, especially as they begin to enter their teenage years. Preferences change, too. Overall, keep in mind that comfort is the most important thing to any child when it comes to swimwear. It should never restrict movement ? only enable it. Blocking harmful UV rays is a plus as well. Be sure to seek input from your child if they are old enough; shopping for swimwear together can be a fun bonding experience. Though it can take some searching to find the perfect set of swim trunks or the ideal tankini, the first dive into the pool always makes the hunt worthwhile. Follow @SportNessUK