The best wetsuits for kids

Beach

The best option to properly take care of a wetsuit is to rinse it off with clean water, wiring it out and letting it air-dry first.

January 01 2022 12:00 am

Which wetsuit is best for kids?

Kids of all ages love being in the water, but it’s essential to protect them from the elements as much as possible. A wetsuit not only keeps kids insulated against the cold it also acts as a barrier against harmful rays from the sun, jellyfish stings or sharp rocks and reefs.

There are several principal considerations when choosing the best wetsuit for your child. Depending on the water temperature, the climate and the activities, there are various wetsuits available.  

Types of wetsuits

Spring and summer wetsuits

A wetsuit made from a thinner material is better in warm weather, as it doesn’t restrict too much movement. Some summer wetsuits, also known as shortys, have short arms and legs. However, these don’t provide as much protection from the sun.

Winter wetsuits

When swimming in cold water or cold weather, a full-body wetsuit is preferable. Winter wetsuits come in various thicknesses for different climates and may have taped seams or dry zips for extra protection. Three-season wetsuits usually use a thinner material for the arms and legs than the body, keeping the core warm without being too restrictive. 

What to look for in a kids’ wetsuit

Wetsuit material and thickness

Most wetsuits nowadays are made from neoprene, which is flexible, synthetic rubber. It traps water within its foam cells, creating an insulating barrier. The thinnest wetsuits are either 1 or 2 millimeters thick and are ideal for summer use. A 3-millimeter wetsuit is an excellent all-around choice that you can wear in all but the coldest weather. For winter use, a 4 to 6-millimeter wetsuit is recommended. For icy conditions, some are completely waterproof and have a thermal lining.

Wetsuit size

For a wetsuit to be effective, it needs to be snug. If it’s too loose cold water will flow between the material and the body, canceling out the insulating properties. Conversely, if a wetsuit is too tight, it may rub and chafe under the arms and around the neck, causing discomfort. Since children grow rapidly, choosing the best wetsuit for them can be a little tricky. Thankfully, many kids’ wetsuits are relatively inexpensive, with many choices available in the $25-$60 range.

Wetsuit style

Some wetsuits are designed with knee and elbow protection, making them better for certain activities such as surfing or bodyboarding. Usually, you will typically find the zipper at the back. However, some kids’ wetsuits have a zipper on the front to make them easier to put on. The variety of colors and designs available means there should be something suitable for all kids of any age.

Wetsuit protection

A thicker wetsuit will give a greater degree of protection against sharp rocks and reefs. Additionally, ultraviolet protection is necessary to avoid harmful rays from the sun. Finally, look for a wetsuit with a UPF of at least 50 to ensure your little one won’t burn.

The best wetsuits for kids

Top wetsuit for kids

O'Neill Toddler & Little Kids Neoprene

O’Neill Toddler & Little Kids Neoprene

What you need to know: A full-length wetsuit, available in a range of sizes, that is suitable for children up to 6 years old.

What you’ll love: At 2 millimeters thick, it is ideal for summer use. It comes in a choice of colors and designs and has a UPF 50 rating.

What you should consider: The zipper is on the back, so younger kids will need a hand putting it on.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top shorty wetsuit for kids

O'Neill Youth Reactor ll

O’Neill Youth Reactor ll

What you need to know: Designed for keeping the body warm, it has a wind-resistant chest and back with taped and stitched seams. Available in sizes for kids and teenagers.

What you’ll love: The shoulders and underarms use an ultra-flexible neoprene that won’t restrict movement. 

What you should consider: Fitting tends to run a little small, so opt for a larger size. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top three-season wetsuit for kids

Neosport Wetsuits Junior

Neosport Wetsuits Junior

What you need to know: Offering full-length protection, this 3-millimeter wetsuit uses nylon and neoprene and has taped, flatlock seams for durability.

What you’ll love: Lycra trimming at the wrist, ankle and neck openings prevent chafing. Flexible knee pads give added protection at abrasion points.

What you should consider: This wetsuit is only available in black.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top winter wetsuit for kids  

Hurley Advantage Plus

Hurley Advantage Plus

What you need to know: An excellent choice for icy conditions, this wetsuit uses completely waterproof materials. In addition, it includes a hollow-fiber fleece lining that traps in heat.

What you’ll love: The full-width, watertight chest zip makes it easy to take on and off. Exoflex stretch Neoprene ensures it is lightweight and comfortable.

What you should consider: It is only sized for children aged 8 years old and up.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top bang for the buck wetsuit for kids

Cressi Kids Swimsuit

Cressi Kids Swimsuit

What you need to know: This is a budget-friendly option in sizes for children aged 2-10 years old. This shorty is available with long or short sleeves and in a range of colors.

What you’ll love: It has a zipper on the front, making it easy to put on. It protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays.

What you should consider: At 1.5 millimeters thick, it is only suitable for summer use.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

 

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Christopher Gillespie writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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