Learning to swim is an essential part of children's safety, especially here in Australia where so many of us have backyard pools and dams. Swimming is also great exercise, and so much fun for the family. Going to the beach, swimming in the local river, dam or pool - it just says summer, doesn't it?
When you're swimming with babies and toddlers, though, it's not as easy as change into swimmers and jump in the water. Like just about everything you do with little ones, it's easier when you've got the gear to encourage them in (and out!) of the water, and keep them safe at the same time.
Here's Hello Charlie's top green baby swim essentials:
If you're going swimming, you'll need swimmers (or togs or bathers, depending on which part of Australia you're from!). And swimming with little guys means containment, so you need to make sure that the swim nappies you choose will catch any accidents.
All the swim nappies
we stock here at Hello Charlie are designed to work even if your kids aren't toilet trained yet. Some of the swim nappies, like the Charlie Banana ones, even double up as toilet training pants - now that's a bonus.
Washable swim nappies will not only save you a fortune, they're so much better for the environment, too.
Be sun sensible, and don't forget your hat
. It’s one of the first lines of defence against sunburn, and the sooner your baby gets used to wearing a hat, the less resistance you’ll have to deal with.
Get a broad brimmed hat that will cover baby's ears, face and the back of the neck. And grab one with a strap that goes under baby's chin so that he can't pull it off too easily - take it from me, you'll save yourself a lot of hats this way.
And finally, don't get a brim too wide that it flops in baby's face. If your baby can see out from under the hat, he's less likely to get cross with it and want to take it off.
As we wrote in a post recently
, children's eyes are even more sensitive to UV rays than adults are, so it's really important that little guys wear good quality sunnies. Look for AS/NZS 1067 compliant, or UV 400 lenses.
It helps if the sunglasses frames are flexible, so that they don't get broken when your toddler rips them off his head and hurls them to the ground. Likewise, getting a strap is super helpful, too, and certainly means you won't lose sunnies as often. We like the Roshambo sunglasses
, with their frame and lens replacement guarantees.
If you’re swimming outside, or at the beach, you’ll need sunscreen. Babies under 6 months shouldn’t use sunscreen at all, they should just be kept out of the sun. Babies over six months should still be kept out of the sun as much as possible, but you can use most natural kids sunscreens on babies over six months.
Choose the safest natural sunscreen that you can, and apply it liberally all over. Reapply every two hours.
To find the best natural sunscreens in Australia, check out the Hello Charlie sunscreen cheat sheet
There’s nothing nicer than a warm snugly towel
after a swim. And, dare I say it, nothing cuter than a hooded towel with bunny ears!
The hood does have a purpose other than just the cute factor, though, it keeps little heads toasty warm after they've come out of the water, whether it's a bath or the pool. Lots of people I know bundle their kids into towels after swimming lessons, and get them straight in the car and home to the bath.
Water toys can mean the difference between a child refusing to get in the pool for swimming lessons, and a child enthusiastically leaping into the pool for swimming lessons.
Choose BpA free toys that drain well, so that you don't end up with mould on them. It's also a good idea to keep swimming toys separate from bath toys so that they're special. Of course, it may be that your toddler loves a bath toy so much that encourages them to get into the swimming pool. Some days you've got to use every trick you've got to get them in the water!
Keep the kids' swimming gear together, and all those wet swimmers and wet towels off your car seats by popping them all into a waterproof wet bag.
And the bonus with these wet bags is that if there's a poo type accident in the swim nappy, you'll be able to get it home and into the wash with no dramas.
8 Hair Care
I have two boys with short hair, so I would never have thought of this. But I'm assured that swimming pools and the beach are a nightmare when you’ve got a child with hard to manage hair.
Shower them, or at least rinse them down in fresh water, then squirt a bit of detangler
on their hair before you head home. It’ll make brushing out those tangles so much easier.
9 Cooling Gel
If you’ve been sitting on the sand and got a few midgie bites, or you missed a spot with the sunscreen, the Weleda Burns & Bites Cooling Gel
is your friend. I’m never without a tube of this for bites – it’s the best thing ever.
I recently found out how great it is on sunburn, too. One of my children had a cricket day at school, and didn’t realise that the protective mask wouldn’t stop him from getting sunburnt. The result? Bright red nose and cheeks. We slathered cooling gel all over his face, and the next morning the redness had gone and his face wasn’t sore at all. He didn’t even peel, which I was very surprised at. And a little cross, too - he's old enough to know that he has to put sunscreen on, and he never remembers. A bit of pain might have made him think twice. And yes, I'm aware that this kind of thinking probably doesn't put me in the running for Mother of the Year award!
What's in your beach bag to get your kids into the water? Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments below!
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