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Swim Gear: What Your Kid Really Needs

by Terra Fuller

Some pools have an extensive list of items that children will need when they start swimming lessons. Other centers give you very little information until your child's first lesson. Either way, it is likely that you will end up wasting your money on gear that a beginning child swimmer does not actually need if you make your purchases too soon. Follow this guide or click here for more info on how to buy the right gear the first time. 

What Your Child Needs: 

A Swimsuit 

If you have watched any movie with swim lessons in it, then you have probably seen girls in competition style one-piece suits and boys in compression shorts or swim briefs. While these are great for swimming, they are not necessary for beginners. Your child will not need this type of swimsuit until they begin taking more advanced swim classes or competing. With swimming being the most popular organized sport in Canada, it is likely that your child will grow into a competition style suit. However, swimming is on the decline, especially among girls, so there is no sense in buying an expensive specialty suit too soon. 

Your child can complete beginning swimming lessons in their regular suit that they use at the beach. This can include two-piece suits with ruffles for girls and board shorts for boys. However, you should make sure that your child has an actual swimsuit and does not show up to the pool in regular shorts or expecting to wear a t-shirt over their suit. 

A Swim Cap 

Swim caps are required at most pools, to prevent your child from shedding hair into the water. Even if they are not required, they are a great way to keep your child's hair out of their face. If your child has hair longer than 3 centimeters, a swim cap can prevent a lot of aggravation while they are learning to swim. 

You should get your child used to putting on their swim cap before they arrive at their first lesson. This will save their swim instructor time and increase their comfort level in the water from the first day. 

What Your Child Doesn't Need: 


You may be surprised to learn that your child does not require goggles for swim lessons. In fact, it is important that your child learn to swim without goggles, in case they are ever in an emergency situation. Goggles can be distracting for many children, and they can teach children to fear opening their eyes under the water without protection, which should not be a worry in a properly maintained pool. 

Ear Plugs 

Ear plugs are generally worn by children who have had ear tubes inserted into their ears. They may also be needed by children who frequently get ear infections. It is best to ask your doctor, rather than your child's swim coach, whether ear plugs will be necessary for your particular child. 

Nose Plugs

Nose plugs, similar to goggles, may be more of a distraction rather than a helpful tool when your child is first learning how to swim. Not only are they something extra to remember, but they can prevent your child from learning how to exhale properly while swimming. Your child's instructor should be able to teach them how to prevent water from going into their nose with breathing techniques rather than using plugs. However, if your child is still uncomfortable after their first few lessons, their swim instructor might suggest purchasing nose plugs. 

Swimming can be an inexpensive sport for your child, especially for the first year while they are figuring out whether they enjoy it. You should make sure not to spend more money on items your child will not need and instead spend your money on quality items as they need them.