How to Choose the Right Wetsuit for Kids: A Parent's Guide

Choosing the right wetsuit for your child can make a significant difference in their comfort, safety, and enjoyment during water activities. Whether they’re splashing around at the beach, learning to surf, or diving into a swimming pool, the right wetsuit can provide the necessary warmth and protection. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help parents make the best choice.

1. Understanding Wetsuit Basics

Before diving into the selection process, it’s important to understand what a wetsuit does. Wetsuits are made of neoprene, a material designed to trap a thin layer of water between the suit and the skin. The body then heats this water, providing insulation against cold temperatures. This feature is crucial for kids, who can get cold more quickly than adults.

Key Features to Consider

  • Thickness: Measured in millimetres (mm), wetsuits typically range from 2mm to 7mm. Thicker suits offer more warmth but can be less flexible.
  • Seams: Look for flatlock seams for warmer conditions and sealed or taped seams for colder waters, as they prevent water from entering the suit.
  • Fit: A well-fitting wetsuit is snug but not too tight. It should allow full range of motion without causing discomfort.

2. Determining the Right Size

Measuring Your Child

To find the correct size, you’ll need to measure your child’s height, chest, waist, and hips. Most wetsuit brands provide size charts to match these measurements. It’s crucial to choose a size that fits well to ensure the wetsuit functions properly.

Trying It On

When your child tries on the wetsuit, check for the following:

  • Length: The wetsuit should reach the ankles and wrists without bunching up.
  • Neck and Sleeves: There should be a snug fit around the neck and sleeves to prevent water from flushing into the suit.
  • Comfort: Ensure there’s no pinching or restriction, especially around the shoulders and neck.

3. Considering Water Temperature

The water temperature will dictate the thickness of the wetsuit needed. Here’s a general guideline:

  • Warm Water (22°C and above): A 2mm or 3mm wetsuit should suffice.
  • Mild Water (16°C to 21°C): Opt for a 3mm to 5mm wetsuit.
  • Cold Water (15°C and below): Choose a 5mm to 7mm wetsuit.

4. Types of Wetsuits

Full Suits vs. Spring Suits

  • Full Suits: These cover the entire body, providing maximum warmth and protection. Ideal for colder waters and extended water activities.
  • Spring Suits: These have short arms and legs, making them suitable for warmer conditions and offering greater flexibility.

Other Considerations

  • Steamer Suits: Full suits with extra insulation, perfect for very cold conditions.
  • Shorties: Short arms and legs, best for warm weather and ease of movement.

5. Additional Features


Wetsuits come with back zippers, chest zippers, or no zippers at all (zip-free). Back zippers are easier to put on, but chest zippers offer better flexibility and water resistance.

UV Protection

Some wetsuits offer additional UV protection, which is beneficial for kids spending long hours in the sun.

Knee Pads

Reinforced knee pads can provide extra durability, especially for activities like surfing or bodyboarding.

6. Budget Considerations

While it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest option, investing in a quality wetsuit can provide better durability, comfort, and performance. Look for reputable brands and read reviews to ensure you’re getting value for your money.

7. Maintaining the Wetsuit

To prolong the life of the wetsuit, rinse it with fresh water after each use, avoid drying it in direct sunlight, and store it flat or on a wide hanger to prevent creasing.


Choosing the right wetsuit for your child involves understanding the balance between warmth, flexibility, and fit. By considering the water temperature, type of wetsuit, and additional features, you can ensure your child stays comfortable and protected during their aquatic adventures. Remember, a well-chosen wetsuit not only enhances their experience but also encourages a lifelong love for water activities.

To provide your child with the best possible aquatic experience, explore our Kids Wetsuit Top And Vest Collection. At Sharkskin, we offer a variety of high-quality, stylish, and durable wetsuit tops and vests designed specifically for junior swimmers. Whether your child is just starting out or already tackling more advanced waters, our collection ensures they have the comfort, protection, and flexibility needed to enjoy their time in the water. Visit our website to find the perfect wetsuit for your child's needs and encourage their love for water activities with confidence.