Splash About Swimwear: Taking the Toddler Swimming
I’ve never been a great swimmer. Growing up, I had school swimming lessons that barely gained me my 10 metre badge and I saw the local pool just a few times a year. As a result I’ve never been an especially confident swimmer and I’ve always felt a bit fearful of deep water. This is not the kind of relationship with water I’d want for my child.
So, I made certain that even though we held off the baby swimming lessons, Reuben would get the chance to experience the fun of the pool, and hopefully, follow in his dad’s footsteps (a proper water baby) rather than mine.
The first time we took Reuben ‘swimming’ was to a spa retreat that, although lovely for me, didn’t have a shallow pool so it wasn’t the best introduction for a toddler. Unsurprisingly, he was a little nervous of the vast deep water, so I thought next time we’d take Reubs to a proper baby pool.
Reuben’s first swim outfit did the job but it wasn’t great. It was thin, not very warm, and the shorts slid off his swim nappy. Thankfully after that episode of trial and error we found the fab Splash About – cool functional swimwear specially made for little swimmers.
Splash About sent Reuben a whole new set of swim gear for him to try out next. The Happy Nappy Wetsuit in the Set Sail print (£25.99), Apres Splash All in One (£18.99) and the Nappy Wrap (£4.99) complete with a pack of Nappy Liners (£2.50).
From the huge choice of designs, I picked the adorable blue nautical print wetsuit that features a whimsical array of little sailing boats, which I thought was just perfect for water play by pool or sea.
The Happy Nappy Wetsuit is a proper miniature sized wetsuit cut perfectly with toddler’s needs in mind. Featuring longer length short sleeves and cut off legs with soft and flexible cuffs, this wetsuit assures a super comfy fit. It also features a built in ‘Happy Nappy’ which means you don’t need to use an additional swim nappy, but for simpler clean ups it’s probably a good idea!
As the wetsuit is made from soft neoprene, which is a strong, stretchy and thick fabric, it provides a substantial level of coverage and keeps toddlers a lot warmer than typical swimwear. And with added UV50+ sun protection, the Happy Nappy Wetsuit is perfect for wearing outside in the paddling pool or down the beach. I always apply UV50 sun cream to Reuben’s exposed skin so this is a great little outfit for added peace of mind when out playing in the sun.
The Happy Nappy Wetsuit was really easy to put on Reuben. Its all-in-one design meant Reuben was able to step into the legs, only for me to pull up, dress each arm and zip up the back. There was no heaving up or faffing – the built-in nappy design glided into place without any need to adjust fabric. The inner waistband sits comfortably, while the cuffs snugly envelope the tops of his legs, making the nappy section of the suit a reliable fit. It’s generous in the body so there’s plenty room for comfort and growth, which I think also made Reuben feel so comfortable about wearing as it wasn’t tight or restrictive.
In the water I found the wetsuit reassuring for myself, as it provided grip when holding Reuben. His previous swim outfit was a bit slippery so the neoprene wetsuit was much better for my water anxiety! I was able to hold on to Reuben with ease and confidently cruise him around the pool with me.
And Reuben seemed very happy wearing the wetsuit in the water too. While he was initially daunted stepping into the water, he wasn’t bothered by his wetsuit. In fact he looked very content wearing it. The high level of upper body coverage is great because he’s not moving around so much relying on me moving him around the water, and yet the cut off legs means he has the freedom to kick and really experience the water.
Taking the wetsuit off while wet took a while longer than it did putting it on. It wasn’t so much that the neoprene had absorbed water but the fact it was thick, wet fabric that doesn’t just glide off equally wet skin. It was a bit of a tug of war freeing his arms from the sleeves but once the upper part was folded down it came off easy.
After our swim session we went off to get showered down – this is the least fun and possibly the most stressful part of going swimming. While normal towels are perfectly adequate for mum and dad, it can be a bit of a stress wrapping a towel around a toddler and keeping it on. Well thankfully this time around we had the fab Apres Splash All in One.
The Apres Splash All in One is the clever way of drying a toddler while keeping them snug until they get dressed, which worked a treat for us. Fashioned like a romper suit, the All in One is a generous terry towelling robe made from natural bamboo charcoal cotton, a fibre that’s anti-microbial and ideal for sensitive skins. The All in One fully opens up and fastens secure with snap poppers, and with the addition of a towelling hood it makes a super cosy, functional design.
Popping it on Reuben was fairly simple but a little trickier fastening. I’ve stopped dressing Reuben in baby grows all because of the poppers which drive me nuts, so this part of the doing up wasn’t so fun. I’d probably prefer it to have a couple of large poppers or buttons, or maybe even a tie like a bath robe for a quick secure.
The All in One performed well, though. Reuben was dried quickly and painlessly thanks to the soft loop fibre that patted his skin dry. He was really content wearing it too, waddling around the changing room until I was ready to put his clothes back on. It’s the perfect cover up for wearing from the pool, shower or bath and thanks to the UV50+ sun protection like the wetsuit, it can even be used on the beach too. I much prefer it to hooded towels which Reuben does not tolerate, and it stops him streaking through the house!
The Nappy Wrap isn’t an essential part of the Happy Nappy Wetsuit or indeed the Happy Nappy but it exists to make life a little easier if there’s a ‘number 2’ incident. Poop happens and while it’s not a certainty, you can certainly count on this kind of event happening when you’re least prepared.
So rather than reaching for a regular disposable swim nappy (which are not only bulky but fairly expensive for what you get) the nappy wrap worn with a liner underneath the outer swimwear is a purse and eco friendly option.
The first time Reuben wore his wetsuit I admit I stuck a disposable on him, only because I feared fitting the nappy wrap would create additional stress I didn’t need. (That’s because I have anxiety, and dramatising is my thing.) Nappy-wise, Reuben wears pull on nappy pants as he’s a total wriggler – no, stander-upper – so the idea of fitting a velco tabbed wrap just screamed pure madness to me.
Despite all that, I thought I’d try it anyway. In fact, it made me re-think the whole nappy thing and I decided to try good old nappies again. It’s working, 80% of the time. The rest of the time ie. anywhere away from home it has to be nappy pants because laying Reuben down just doesn’t happen.
Getting back to the point: the nappy wrap is a fab alternative to a disposable; it’s cheap and doesn’t absorb a ton of excess water. For me, it works if we’re at home (think paddling pool time) or there’s a changing table at the pool Reuben is happy to lay down on. The reason it doesn’t work as well as I’d hoped is literally all because I can’t fasten it on a standing toddler – or worse, one that just wants to run off into the sea!
I’m a big fan of Splash About; their designs are modern and cute and they’re affordable too. Reuben’s little wetsuit is brilliant; it gives me peace of mind (sun-safe, nice to grip) and there’s no kicking off from the boy – wetsuit means water play time!
Have you taken your little one swimming? Maybe you introduced the pool from newborn? Or are you waiting to offer your toddler swimming lessons when they’re a little older? I’d love to hear how you’re introducing the swimming pool.