16 of the best kids’ swimwear – swimming costumes, trunks and rash vests
Whether you’re going on holiday or taking your child to swimming lessons, we've chosen the best swimwear for babies, toddlers and children
From the beach to the paddling pool, swimwear is an important part of your child's wardrobe. When it comes to finding the right swimsuit for your child, there are lots of different options to choose from. Each type of swimwear serves a different purpose and offers something different performance-wise.
Most hurdles you'll encounter when taking children and babies out for a swim are handled with creative innovations found in various swimwear products. We've spoken to our parent testers and used our expert parenting knowledge to bring you the very best swimwear to suit a whole range of activities. Our list includes everything from traditional one-piece swimming costumes to swim nappies, board shorts, rash vests and more. Baby and toddler wetsuits might also be a great option if you're looking for something to keep your child warm on those colder swims.
Best kids’ swimwear at a glance:
- Best first swimsuit: Speedo Koko Koala Crossback Swimsuit, £9.60
- Best organic: Maxomorra Swimsuit – Tropical Ocean, £18.83
- Best for value: Patterned Swimsuit, £7.99
- Best cute design: Swan Swimsuit, £11
- Best quick drying swimwear: Sunuva Pink Aloha Fruit Wrap Around Tankini, from £48
- Best for versatility: H&M 3-piece swimset, £25
- Best for style: Kids Asymmetric Textured Bikini Set, £12-16
- Best for support: Splash About Baby & Children’s Swimwear Collection, £10-27
- Best for comfort: Speedo Corey Croc 11″ Watershort, £11.99
- Best for in-built swim nappy: JoJo Maman Bebe Crab Swim Shorts With Nappy, £16
- Best for a fade-proof design: Joseph & Alexander Recycled Plastic Swim Shorts UPF 45+, from £46.63
- Best for fun prints: Bambino Mio Swim Rash Top, £13.99
- Best short sleeved rash vest: Sunsafe Rash Vest, £8-16
- Best wetsuit and nappy combo: Splash About Happy Nappy Sunsuit, from £15
- Best for full coverage: Lanuuk Serena Kids 2-piece Swimwear, £64.99
- Best all-round rash vest: JoJo Maman Bebe Kids Jungle 2-piece Sun Protection Suit, £25
We've separated our list into 4 sections to make it easier for you to pick out what suits your family.
- Jump to best one-piece swimsuits
- Jump to best bikinis and swim vests
- Jump to best shorts and trunks
- Jump to best rash vests
There are a lot of factors to consider when searching for the ideal swimsuit for your child. We’ve looked at swimwear made from fabric with built-in sun protection to keep your child’s skin from burning, as well as brands that have created their swimwear with organic, environmentally friendly materials.
For younger children who are not yet potty trained, you will want to pair their swimsuit with a swim nappy which helps to keep those accidents sealed until you're able to take them out of the water. For even more safe swim products, take a look at our best swimming goggles for kids, best life jackets for kids and best wetsuits for babies and kids. Swimwear should not be tumble dried, find out the best ways to dry them indoors.
What to look for when buying swimwear:
Colour – Tests show that vibrant-coloured swimwear is more visible underwater, and even from a distance. Think of how you'd dress your kids in recognisable bright clothing when visiting a theme park, similarly vibrant coloured swimwear could allow a lifeguard to spot them faster if they get into trouble in the water. If your child is going for a swim in the pool or a lake, it's best to select vibrant-coloured swimwear, especially neon colours like pink and orange. Avoid colours that will get lost in the water, like blue and green.
Purpose – Different swimwear items do different things. Think about your child's age and their swimming capabilities. Swim nappies serve the purpose of preventing toilet waste leaking into the water, longer sleeved swimsuits protect them from the sun, or keep your child warm on breezy days. Some swimwear all-in-ones even has nappies built in which is useful for toddlers who are not yet fully toilet trained and may have a little accident. Some of the swimwear options below are chlorine safe, have sun protection material, and protect sensitive skin from sand and salt water using rash vests.
Sun protection – If your child is using their swimwear outdoors, you want to make sure their swimwear has some protection from the sun's rays. Some of the swimwear in our list below suggest they have UPF 50+ protection which helps, but we recommend to always keep your child out of direct sunlight and instead in shady areas where possible, and use sunscreen in addition to these items for maximum protection.
Comfort – Something as simple as having a zip at the back of their suit can really change the game when it comes to avoiding tears when getting your child's swimwear on and off. Likewise, if your child is splashing about in cooler water, perhaps opting for thick, thermal wetsuit might be best to keep them warm.
Here is our pick of the best baby and children’s swimwear for 2023
1. Speedo Koko Koala Crossback Swimsuit, £9.60
– Best first swimsuit
Size: 6-9 months to 6 years | Material: Endurance10 fabric with Creora HighClo (80% polyamide and 20% elastane)
This koala-themed pastel swimming costume is super cute with a striped design and applique bow, but it also performs well in the water. At just £12, it is very affordable but as it’s by Speedo, a major international swimwear brand, you also know you’re getting a high quality swimsuit. This crossback swimsuit has wide straps which won’t dig into your child's skin but will also not slip down when they're splashing about in the paddling pool.
The costume is made from Speedo’s Endurance10 fabric, a unique blend of materials which is soft and comfortable, making it a good choice for young children. It also includes Creora HighClo, which has a higher resistance to chlorine than most swimwear fabrics, meaning it will keep its shape and colour rather than quickly becoming faded and stretched like some costumes.
2. Maxomorra Swimsuit — Tropical Ocean, £18.83
– Best organic swimsuit
Size: 9-12 months to 24 months-2 years | Material: Organic cotton | Machine washable: Yes, cold wash
This swimming costume features a lovely tropical print and is made from a high quality organic cotton. This is great if you're looking for swimwear for your child that performs well but keeps the environment in mind.
We rate the simple fit and summery print, and can imagine this suit looking great on children of all ages. You can hand wash the costume in cold water or alternatively stick it in the washing machine on cold wash.
More like this
3. Patterned Swimsuit, £7.99
- Best for value
Size: 1 and a half years to 10 years | Material: Shell: Polyester 82%, Elastane 18% Lining: Polyester 100% | Machine washable: Yes at 40°C
This patterned swimsuit from H&M is a great simple option if you’re looking for something that offers good quality without breaking the bank. It comes in four designs including bright yellow and pink making it fantastic for visibility on the beach or in the pool.
Its simple design with two bows at the shoulders really accentuates the vibrant patterns available. It also comes in a range of sizes for children from as young as 1 and a half all the way up to 10 years.
Available from: H&M
4. Swan Swimsuit, £11
- Best cute design
Size: 3-6 months up to 2-3 years | Material: Shell: Polyester 82%, Elastane 18% Lining: Polyester 100% | Machine washable: Yes
Bright and visible doesn’t always mean the swimsuit needs to be neon. This pink striped swan swimsuit has an adorable pattern that maintains good visibility on the beach or in the pool. The soft and stretchy material makes it comfortable and easy to get on during those fun summer swims.
The patterned frills that complete the swans and add to the neckline might look lovely but the added material may make performance slightly more difficult. However, for the age range and the price this is a great option for families looking for something cute for the next trip to the pool.
Available from: Boots
5. Sunuva Pink Aloha Fruit Wrap Around Tankini, from £48
– Best quick drying swimwear
Size: 1-2 years to 13-14 years | Material: 78% polyester and 22% Elastane | Machine washable: Gentle wash separately at 30°C with mild detergent
This tankini’s distinctive wrap-around top makes it stand out from the crowd. The zesty tropical fruit design and vibrant pink colour is bound to turn heads but this costume does more than simply look great. The fuller style of top offers extra coverage around the neck and shoulders and it is accompanied by bikini briefs with tie bows at the side.
Sunuva is a luxury swimwear brand so you can expect to pay a premium price tag for its exclusive designs and styles. However you can be reassured when it comes to sun protection as the tankini is made from UPF fabric, plus the material is designed to dry quickly. It forms part of a wider Aloha fruit swimwear range, which includes co-ordinating swim shorts for an alternative style.
Available from: Sunuva
6. H&M 3-piece swimset, £25
– Best for versatility
Size: 8-14 years | Material: 82% polyester, 18% elastane with a 100% Polyester lining | Machine washable: Yes at 40°C
This bikini/swim top combo is perfect for children who want to wear a bikini in the summer and then have a matching long-sleeve top they can pop on in the cooler weather, or for added protection.
Thanks to the adjustable shoulder straps, the bikini's fit can be tailored to the wearer to make sure it is comfortable.
Available from: H&M
7. Kids Asymmetric Textured Bikini Set, £12-16
– Best for style
Size: 2-14 years | Material: 93% recycled nylon, 7% elastane | Machine washable: Yes
This stylish two-piece bikini set with an asymmetric cut and textured design is perfect for children looking for a sophisticated style. It’s made of recycled materials without sacrificing on how easy it is to wash and maintain or adding to the overall cost.
It comes in two colour options, though the green is slightly better for visibility, and covers a fantastic range of ages from 2 years up to 14 years. The sustainable fabric and simple two-piece design make this a comfortable option that’s easy to get into whether you’re heading to the beach or the pool.
Available from: John Lewis
8. Splash About Baby & Children’s Swimwear Collection, £10-27
– Best for support
Size: 0-3 months to 12-24 months | Material: Neoprene | Machine washable: No, hand wash only| Award: Silver – Baby and children's swimswear, MadeForMums Awards 2022
Made using quality fabrics that offer UPF50+ sun protection, the bright and colourful swimwear collection consists of nappies, wetsuits, sunsuits, learn- to-swim buoyancy aid floatsuits all while being inclusive of those with skin conditions such as eczema.
It's clear to see that a lot of research has gone into the creation of Splash About’s Swimwear collection, for instance, the latest iteration of the swim nappy kills faecal bacteria before it enters the pool!
Our testers were particularly impressed by the comfort and support provided by this brand. Parent tester Katie said: “We are really impressed with this set. My son seemed very happy and very comfortable wearing these and that made us comfortable whilst being in the water. The vest makes it easier for us to support him whilst swimming.”
Splash About swimwear is even recommended by swim schools. Infliencer Alex Obekho, a judge at the MadeForMums awards, noted that the swimwear “quality is unparalleled” after trying it with her twins.
9. Speedo Corey Croc 11" Watershort, £11.99
– Best for comfort
Size: 1-2 years to 5-6 years | Material: Recycled polyester made from waste plastic
Using eco-friendly materials in their design, these Speedo watershorts are also made from recycled plastic. We’re also big fans of the bright and cheerful Corey Croc design in blue, green, white and mango.
As well as looking great, these shorts have been built for comfort with plenty of space to move and an elasticated waistband. The fabric itself has a soft brushed finish and there is a mesh inner lining to preserve modesty while your little one is busy making a splash.
Available from: Amazon
10. JoJo Maman Bebe Crab Swim Shorts With Nappy, £16
– Best for in-built swim nappy
Size: 0-3 months to 2-3 years | Material: 100% Recycled Polyester, 95% Cotton, 5% Elastane with PU coating lining | Machine washable: Yes at 30°C
The print on these shorts is absolutely adorable with cute crab detail along with a stylish Breton stripe design.
Ideal for babies and toddlers who are not yet potty trained, they look like standard swimming shorts but they have a discreet built in nappy so you don’t need to worry about using a disposable or buying a separate product. It will effectively contain any accidents and the cotton lining next to the skin means it won’t irritate little bottoms.
These shorts can easily be cleaned and safely machine washed at 30°C.
Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe
11. Joseph & Alexander Recycled Plastic Swim Shorts UPF 45+, from £46.63
– Best for a fade-proof design
Size: 3-4 years to 15-16 years | Material: 90% polyester and 10% spandex
Joseph and Alexander makes ‘mini-me’ swim shorts so parent and child can hit the beach in matching designs. They might be a bit pricey, but the designs are beautifully intricate and come with a 12-month fade proof guarantee.
These mid-length shorts are made from recycled plastic, which has been turned into a quick-drying, lightweight and soft feel fabric that offers UPF 45+ sun protection. One of the features we love most about these shorts is that they come with handy pockets to store pebbles and other beach treasures in.
As well as 2 front pockets, there is a flap pocket at the back which fastens with Velcro. The shorts also have an elasticated waistband with fabric cord and a soft mesh lining for extra comfort.
Available from: Joseph & Alexander
12. Bambino Mio Swim Rash Top, £13.99
– Best for fun prints
Size: 0-6 months to 2+ years | Material: 90% polyester, 10% spandex | Machine washable: Yes at 40°C
This gorgeous swim rash top is perfect for babies and toddlers with a number of fun, colourful designs to choose from. We love the long printed sleeves which co-ordinate with a single colour on the body – our favourites include 'Tropical' featuring watermelons and pineapples and 'Nice', which has a pattern which includes puffins, crabs and anchors.
The swim rash top is designed to be used with the coordinating Bambino Mio reusable swim nappies but you could mix and match it with other nappies, shorts or briefs. MFM testers found the soft, stretchy fabric pulls easily on and off over your little one’s head and liked how it offers UPF 40+ sun protection. Tester Jo, mum of a 1-year-old, said "I loved the size of the top and I found it really to slip on and off because of how well it fit; which is a real bonus when you’re trying to do a speedy change to keep little one happy."
13. Sunsafe Rash Vest, £8-16
– Best short sleeved rash vest
Size: 3 to 16 years | Material: 84% polyester, 16% elastane | Machine washable: Yes
This reasonably priced and simple rash vest comes in a wide array of bright colours that make it perfect for on the beach visibility. The plain design means it will easily pair with shorts in almost any design and colour, plus it will keep your child's chest and back covered up and protected from irritation from the sun thanks to its UPF rating of 50+.
The rash vest is made from a soft fabric that stretches with your child so they can move freely and without restriction. It’s comfortable to wear with a high neckline and short sleeves, and it can be popped in the washing machine when it gets dirty.
Available from: Next
14. Splash About Happy Nappy Sunsuit, from £15
– Best wetsuit and nappy combo
Size: 0-4 months to 12-24 months | Material: nylon-lycra with neoprene nappy | Machine washable: No, hand wash in cold water
Why buy a swim nappy and separate wet suit for your baby when you can get a clever product which combines the two? This genius all-in-one from Splash About is both a rash vest with UPF 50+ sun protection and a leak-proof swim nappy. You get peace of mind that your little one’s skin will be protected from the sun and you and they'll stay protected from any potential nappy leaks!
We were such big fans of this sunsuit we made it one of our gold award winners in the family travel product category, while the Splash About range took silver in the swimwear category. Our testers loved both the stylish design and the softness of the material. Tester Rebecca said: “It is so much easier to put my daughter in it than other swimwear and also having the UV protection is a great extra.”
15. Lanuuk Serena Kids 2-piece Swimwear, £64.99
- Best for full coverage
Size: 2-9 | Material: 78% recycled nylon (Econyl), 22% elastane | Machine washable: No, hand wash only
The Lanuuk Serena Kids collection is perfect for parents and children who want modest and sunsafe swimwear. The stylish long sleeved 2-piece swimsuit comes in a range of colours including azure, coral and dusk, though we would suggest going for the coral colour to ensure that your child remains visible when swimming.
A key benefit of the Serena Kids 2-piece swimwear is its UPF+ 50 sun protection. Thanks to the long sleeves and cropped swim tights, you know that your child is well protected no matter where you might be. Comfort is also well covered with the swimsuit being made from a soft and breathable material as well as the top having a zip at the front to make it easier to put on.
Parent tester Nadia, who tested the product with her daughter Hafsa, said, "It had a good stretch on it which made it easy to put on when dry and even no problem taking it off when wet.
"The design of the Burkini was like a pedlum skirt style, this really appealed to my daughter as the one she uses as the moment is very straight cut."
Available from: Lanuuk
16. JoJo Maman Bebe Kids Jungle 2-piece Sun Protection Suit, £25
– Best all-round rash vest
Size: 6-12 months to 5-6 years | Material: 80% Recycled Nylon 20% Elastane | Machine washable: Yes at 30°C
The knee-length shorts are covered in a cute zebra print, while the top has a larger applique zebra taking centre stage, complemented by printed sleeves, which come to the elbow.
The 2-piece set has built in sun protection and has a UPF 50+ rating, minimising the risk of your child’s skin getting damaged by UV rays. As it provides plenty of coverage, it could be worn on its own as an outfit for the beach or a day in the garden pool as well as for swimming. The lightweight fabric dries quickly and there’s a matching sun protection hat available if you want to complete the look.
Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe
Most of these items can be hand washed with cold water to prevent colours fading but you can also machine wash some items on cold or lukewarm temperature too. Always check the care label that comes with your child's swimwear to know eaxct care instructions before cleaning them. It's always advisiable to rinse off salt or chlorine water off swimwear after each use to help it last longer.
How did we choose our 10 of the Best?
Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations.
When choosing these swimwear, we considered the comfort for the child, the quality and design of swimwear, whether it's worth the money, quality after wash, swimwear fit and effectiveness.
Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.
Images: Product Websites
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