Swimming in Winter & Staying Warm

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi! Our daughter takes swimming lessons in an outdoor pool, and as we come to the winter months we're looking for a thermal swim suit. Unfortunately, the main issue is that she's cold when she gets out of the pool. Is there a type of thermal swim suit that will keep her dry under when she gets out of the pool?

    Thank you so much!

    Either a wetsuit or get a good wicking robe to change into immediately. 

  • Kids Wetsuit for Fall/Winter

    (4 replies)

    Our family loves swimming in the ocean. My 8 year old son is a real polar bear and will swim in summer at any Northern California beach in just his swimsuit. We don't want the magic to end when Fall and Winter come and we want to get him a wetsuit that is affordable but also durable for colder temperatures. I read a 4/3 is good for winter, but that was from a quick google search. I invested in an on-sale Xterra for myself and found another for my husband, but I am hesitant to spend $150-$200 on a kids suit that my son will grow out of. For those of you who know about cold water swimming - what is the best route to go with a kids wetsuit? Thanks!!

    We haven’t used it yet in winter but have had a similar experience with our two kids this year, so just invested in Iglu wetsuits for both kids. The company that makes them is based out of Cornwall in the UK where the water is freezing. Their kids wetsuit is 4/3 and I want to say we bought 2 plus shipping to the US for around $175. 

    We got our kids great used wetsuits at Play It Again Sports in Soquel, near Santa Cruz. It's pretty far, but there's nothing really comparable in the Bay Area, other than buying used stuff from Craigslist or Facebook. And it is near great ocean swimming. Also I haven't looked for wetsuits, but I really like the app Mercari for used stuff. Wetsuits are something that it's really helpful to try on though. 

    Surfer here! A 4/3 is probably right--i wear one throughout the winter. Many surf shops sell used suits, and I got my kid one on ebay--you do want to make sure that it is in pretty good shape, as any holes or tears let in water and negate the insulating effects of the suit. If your kid likes the cold, you might find a 3/2 to be less bulky and still suffice, but he may end up pretty chilly. We also got booties and they help as well. And, I love a big insulated plastic jug of hot water to warm up and rinse off when I come out of the water. Your kid may not know when they are getting hypothermic. Enjoy!!

    Surfer here (with now-teen surfer kids).  Kids outgrow wetsuits really fast so you should be able to find a good used one. We've cycled through many in our home. The more recent models are much more comfortable (stretchy).  I'd check Craigslist or an online marketplace in a surf town (e.g., Santa Cruz, SLO, Santa Barbara, Huntington Beach, or San Clemente) for one.  You'll pay less for a back zip than an overhead zip and I think for swimming the back zip is fine. 

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Wetsuit for diaper-wearing toddler

March 2002

Hi - my family is going to Hawaii in May, and have 2 toddlers who are not yet potty trained. I've read in these emails about toddler wetsuits, which provide good sun protection. However, I'm not sure if combining the wetsuit with swim diapers would work? Any advice or experience taking toddlers to the beach would be appreciated! Thank you Leigh

These ''wet suits'' are great. They are a lot thinner than a typical wetsuit and really help block out the sun. No problem with a swim diaper. It is just like a bathing suit. You may find in Hawaii they also have just the wetsuit shirts that you can use with just he swim diaper. Hadley