Baby's first beach visit: it's a right of passage for many new parents, and certainly one I was absolutely itching to get on with. I think I dressed by daughter up in her adorable baby swimwear and propped her up for a photo within the first 2 weeks of her life, and many Australian parents might take their newborn down to see the sand even earlier than that.
But as you may have noticed, babies may have all the same fingers, toes and features as their adult counterparts, but they are most certainly not the same: and nor should their baby bathers be either. Likewise, as your tiny bundle develops and grows into an active toddler, nor are they quite the same as the grown ups either (my two year old is certainly much less rational and reasonable!), or even older children.
Toddlers and babies have specific physical and developmental differences to their parents, and even their older siblings, so when it comes to picking the best baby and toddler swimwear, you'll want to watch out for a few crucial features. We promise it will make for a happier, healthier little one, and a longer, more enjoyable beach day for all. Read on for our handy 5-point check list below.
Psssst: we're kinda baby swimwear experts around here. If you want even more detail, check out our comprehensive guide to baby, infant and toddler swimwear over here.
Just here for the #babybeachstyle? Browse our curated range of baby and toddler swimwear here.
1. Choose baby swimwear with long sleeves and maximum coverage
Babies are famous for their sensitive skin, and when it comes to sun protection it pays to leave nothing to chance. Did you know a baby is not supposed to wear sun screen until 6 months old, as the chemicals in the cream can cause irritation? Whilst I certainly didn't wait that long with my daughter, your baby's bathers are going to have to step in where cream cannot.
You'll want to ensure your baby swimwear features long sleeve, ideally a close fitting or even high neck, and covers their back. Some cautious parents also opt for infant swimwear with long legs too. For a cute and practical addition, choose a baby swim set with a matching hat!
2. Make sure those baby bathers feature UPF50+ protection
We've written a whole blog on sun-safe swimwear here, but let me shortcut it for you. UPF is for fabric, what SPF is for your skin. Did you know that the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays can actually penetrate through the weave of your baby's swimsuit fabric? A UPF50+ certified treatment provides an essential extra layer of protection, stopping 50x more sun rays from making it through.
Always look for baby swimwear that advertises their UPF50+ protection. The certification process is through, and costs extra, so brands that have invested in ensuring your baby's young skin is cared for will certainly shout about it.
And since you ask, of course all Little Fishy Swimwear, including our baby and toddler bathers, has UPF50+ certification
3. Ensure your infant swimwear is in quick dry fabric, preferable with a double lining
Temperature control is just another thing your baby's, and even to a lesser extent, your toddler's, young body hasn't quite perfected yet. Beach-going families are probably all too familiar with the dreaded 'blue lips' and shivers that get us packing up our beach bags in a hurry, but did you know those baby bathers could be to blame?
We like to see baby and toddler swimwear with a full lining in the body, to deliver that extra warmth that fresh ocean water requires (PS, if you're feeling extra cautious, thin baby wetsuits are a godsend!). But equally, you don't want your little one shivering in wet baby bathers for too long. Quick dry fabric will make the most of the sun's natural drying power, bringing baby's body temperature back up quickly with it.
4. Make your life easier - seek out baby swimwear with features to make changes a breeze
Your little water baby make look absolutely adorable in that strappy, flappy number but you sure won't be thanking yourself when the inevitable emergency beach change happens.
At a minimum, your baby swimwear should feature snap stud bottoms, allowing you to keep their top half warm and covered, whilst you quickly change out the bottom. But equally, we find baby bathers with extended zippers, fabric zip pulls and functioning drawcords (in the case of swim shorts) essential for getting your little wriggler in and out of their swimwear easily, especially when you're up against the clock, getting them changed in the pram or by the sand.
5. Invest in baby swimwear designed for comfort
With all that sensitive skin, and problems with temperature control, it's a wonder any baby enjoys the beach at all (and sometimes they just don't!), but ensuring your baby or toddler has comfortable swimwear will go a long way to extending the time you both enjoy on the sand.
Whilst that sensitive baby skin is particularly susceptible to sunburn, baby swimwear is also liable to be full of all sorts of other potential irritants to young skin. The zippers on those baby swimsets can become a real liability, so we always prefer to keep ours covered up within the double body lining, plus add a guard at the top to prevent irritation at the neck. Likewise, we like to keep our seams 'invisible', leveraging a lining wherever possible to stop them rubbing on young baby skin and creating swim rash.
So there you have it, 5 essential features to look out for next time you're browsing for baby and toddler swimwear. And yes, of course we've got your little beach baby covered. Our range of baby and toddler swimwear has these 5 features and so much more. Browse our range of adorable prints and styles right over here.
More of a visual learner, or simply want to keep this checklist handy for your next trip to the shops? Pin or print the infographic below, follow the simple 5 step checklist and shop in confidence.