How to choose the best baby swim accessories: towels, hats, goggles and toys

Having the right kit can make trips to the pool a fun and relaxing experience to share with your kids. Below we take a look at the essential accessories for swimming with children:

How to choose the best swim towel for your baby or toddler

Wrapping your baby up in a cosy towel after swimming helps make the transition from the pool to the changing room much easier. Babies are at particular risk of getting cold after swimming—their bodies quickly cool down as water evaporates from their skin.

There are three things you need to look for when choosing a swim towel for your kids:

  1. Is it suitable for your child’s age and range of movement?

Ponchos are great for toddlers and older children as they make moving about easier, without the danger of tripping over a towel. All-in-ones are ideal for active kids as they fit like a playsuit, giving children a complete range of movement.

Small babies will feel safe and snug being swaddled in a soft towel—diamond-shaped hooded towels are perfect for this.

  1. Does it cover your child’s head?

Covering your child’s head with a warm, soft towel will help dry them and ensure they don’t lose precious heat.

Keeping small babies’ heads warm is particularly important. New-born babies have large heads compared to their bodies, which means they lose more heat from this area.

  1. Does it fit in your changing bag?

Bulky towels take up valuable room in a changing bag, so look for towels that fold flat but are still soft and large enough to make your child feel warm and cosy.

Age

Towel

Benefits

Product pick

Best towel for active toddlers

Poncho

  • Allows free movement so children can move around without tripping or feeling restricted
  • Highly absorbent so dries children quickly
  • Super-soft cotton that’s kind to skin
  • Compact design to fit in changing bag

Nina’s Ark Hooded Poncho Towel £19.99

Buy now

Best towel for warmth and softness

All-in-one

  • Covers entire body from the ankles up to provide ultimate warmth
  • Made from bamboo cotton—this has anti-bacterial protection so is ideal for children with sensitive skin
  • UPF 50+ protection so children can keep warm and be protected on the beach

Apres Splash All-in-one £16.14

Buy now

Best towel for new-born babies

Hooded towel

  • Hood provides extra warmth
  • Diamond design means babies can be swaddled and kept extra-toasty after swimming
  • Highly absorbent to dry babies quickly
  • Super-soft cotton that’s kind to skin
  • Compact design to fit in swim bag

Noah’s Ark Hooded Towel £16.99

Buy now

Age

Best towel for active toddlers

Towel

Poncho

Benefits

  • Allows free movement so children can move around without tripping or feeling restricted
  • Highly absorbent so dries children quickly
  • Super-soft cotton that’s kind to skin
  • Compact design to fit in changing bag

Product pick

Nina’s Ark Hooded Poncho Towel £19.99

Buy now

Age

Best towel for warmth and softness

Towel

All-in-one

Benefits

  • Covers entire body from the ankles up to provide ultimate warmth
  • Made from bamboo cotton—this has anti-bacterial protection so is ideal for children with sensitive skin
  • UPF 50+ protection so children can keep warm and be protected on the beach

Product pick

Apres Splash All-in-one £16.14

Buy now

Age

Best towel for new-born babies

Towel

Hooded towel

Benefits

  • Hood provides extra warmth
  • Diamond design means babies can be swaddled and kept extra-toasty after swimming
  • Highly absorbent to dry babies quickly
  • Super-soft cotton that’s kind to skin
  • Compact design to fit in swim bag

Product pick

Noah’s Ark Hooded Towel £16.99

Buy now

View our Happy Nappy and Towel bundles to save money kitting out your baby for a comfortable, leak-free swim and quick and cosy drying.

Baby swim hats and caps protect babies’ skin and keep their heads warm

Baby swim hats aren’t designed to keep kids’ hair dry. Instead, the soft material makes swimming a more comfortable experience for babies and children by:

  • keeping their hair out of the water and away from their face
  • providing UV protection when swimming outdoors
  • keeping babies’ heads warmer for longer in the water
  • protecting sensitive skin from chlorine—swim hats can hold barrier cream in place for babies who have eczema or other skin conditions

The wide range of styles available means you can match swim hats with your kids’ swim outfit.

Below are some of our most popular colours and styles.

Light-blue swim hats

Light-blue flatters both boys and girls and, when combined with striking patterns, is a great choice for stylish swim hats.

Product picks

Tutti Frutti swim hat in light-blue

Noah’s Ark swim hat in light-blue

Navy-blue swim hats

A great choice for teaming up with darker swimwear, navy-blue swimming hats will keep your child protected from the sun and chlorine and ensure they look super stylish.

Product picks

Cobalt and navy-blue swim hat

Vintage Moby swim hat in navy-blue

You can buy our baby swim caps as part of a bundle with a Happy Nappy swimming costume—click here to buy and save.

Baby goggles to extend swim time

A key milestone for children when learning to swim is being able to open their eyes underwater and handle being splashed in the face.

Before they use goggles, it’s important that children learn how to cope with their heads being submerged. Once they’re confident, a pair of well-fitting goggles can extend the time they spend underwater.

Below is a checklist of features that the best goggles for children should have:

  • Meet British safety standard
  • Anti-fog lens
  • UV protection
  • Watertight
  • Easy to adjust
  • Fun, bright colours

Caring for children’s goggles correctly will ensure they last as long as possible. After each use:

  • rinse goggles with fresh water
  • allow them to air-dry, out of direct sunlight
  • avoid touching or wiping the inside of the lenses as this could break up the anti-fog coating
  • store in a glasses case or pouch to stop them getting scratched

Product pick

Splash About’s pink and blue adjustable goggles are suitable for babies and children up to the age of six.

Changing mats for quick and easy drying

Changing a baby by the side of a pool or in damp changing rooms can be tricky and unhygienic. So a change mat that makes it as quick and easy as possible to dry them is essential.

The best changing mats for swimming should:

  • roll up to fit into a swimming bag
  • be big enough so your baby’s head and bottom can fit on the mat
  • dry quickly
  • be non-slip, for added safety
  • absorb water easily, for faster drying
  • be comfortable and soft, to protect your baby from cold, damp changing-room floors
  • be antibacterial, to protect your baby from germs on floors

Product pick

Why aren’t waterproof changing mats good for swimming?

Waterproof changing mats may seem like a good idea, but they actually make it harder to dry your baby as water drips off them and pools on the mat.

Neoprene keeps babies warmer and makes drying faster as the material draws water away from your baby and onto the mat.

Splash About’s neoprene changing mat is available in a range of eye-catching colours and designs. It features all of the benefits above and can be wiped down and rolled up for easy storage.

Find out more about the multiple benefits of neoprene here.

Swim toys to entertain and stimulate babies and toddlers

Toys are regularly used in swimming lessons as they have a multitude of benefits. They can:

  • help babies relax in water
  • aid co-ordination and balance
  • boost children’s confidence in the water when they see a familiar toy
  • be used for simple water games for older children, such as collecting and throwing

Although bath toys can work as swimming toys and vice versa, toys designed specifically for the pool can have added benefits. Look for pool toys that are:

  • buoyant enough to hold their position in the water
  • robust enough to withstand being chewed by tiny teeth

It’s also important that pool toys are:

  • free from BPA, PVA and phthalates (chemical additives used in plastic that can cause potential health issues)
  • mould-resistant, to prevent the build-up of harmful spores
  • light and easy to pack for holidays
  • suitable for use in the bath and pool

Product picks

Splash About’s Splash Pals Swim and Teething Toys soothe sore gums and float on their backs—just like babies are taught to in swimming lessons.

Splash Pals’ surface is naturally repellent to mould growth, which means they help prevent the build-up of mould on and inside the toy. Mould on bath toys is not only hard to remove—it can also be dangerous to babies and children as it provides the perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria. The plastic the Splash Pals are made from doesn’t contain BPA, PVA and phthalates, plastic additives which are potentially dangerous.

Babies love looking at different faces—including their own—so mirrors are a great way to entertain them while they learn.

Using mirrors in the swimming pool can help build babies’ confidence as they see how much fun they’re having in the water. The Splash Pals Mirror is ideal for helping babies get used to being in water, whether this is in the bath or the pool.

The Splash Mirror has been specially designed to perfectly fit babies’ grip so they can easily keep hold of it in the pool or bath. The mirror is made from high density foam acrylic, which means it’s robust enough that pieces can’t be ripped off by sharp teeth.

What next?

You can view our complete range of swim towels, hats and mats here and our goggles and toys here.

If you’re new to taking your baby swimming, this essential guide will give you all the information you need for a happy, stress-free swim.