It’s a blistering hot day and the cool blue pool looks insanely inviting! You quickly hustle the kids into their swimwear because you can’t wait to jump in. Just before you make that plunge though, one thought inevitably flashes across your mind - Is the water COLD? You brace yourself for the shock of cold water, but still, the chill hits you to the brrrr… bone! You let out a mini shriek and start swimming vigorously in an attempt to warm up your body. Sounds familiar? You’re not alone!
*Why does that happen?
Even on warm days, a pool can feel very cold simply because our body temperature is higher than the temperature of the pool water. Your body loses heat to the water upon entry and you start to feel cold.
Now how would that feel for a baby or young child? For a little person with much less body heat than a typical adult, the huge body of cold water constantly draws heat away and makes the pool water feel unbearably cold. Imagine how much worse it is for babies who don’t move about and are much less able to generate more body heat to make up for the lost heat.
*What can we do?
Does that mean we keep the little ones away from the water? Oh never! The benefits of swimming for young children have been researched and written about so much (like here, here, here… well, you get the idea!) that many parents today recognise the extensive benefits it brings to their little ones’ minds and bodies. How then do we as parents make pool time safer and more comfortable for our precious little ones?
The simple solution is the... thermal swimwear! Or wetsuit as we commonly call it. Wait… what? Aren’t wetsuits used only for cold weather or open water swimming? Nope. Wetsuits are especially beneficial in warmer climates too. As long as the temperature of the water is lower than body temperature, heat loss occurs and hypothermia can set in if too much heat is lost from the body.
*How does it work?
Thermal swimwear are made of an insulating material, such as neoprene. When worn snugly so that there is minimal flow of water into and out of the suit, a thin layer of water is trapped between the suit and the skin, allowing that layer of water to warm up to body temperature. This warm layer of water, together with the thickness of the insulating material, works to slow down the rate of heat loss so that the core body temperature is maintained. Now the little ones feel less like passing out from the cold, and are able to stay comfortable and longer in the water!
That’s not all the thermal swimwear does! Here’s a list of the benefits the humble wetsuit brings:
- Prevents heat loss. We can’t emphasize this enough!
- Provides UV protection. The thicker material and fuller coverage means there’s less exposed skin for harmful UV rays to burn. Apply sunscreen on the exposed face, ears and forearms and your little ones are good to go! Don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen after 30-40 mins, coz yes they are likely to stay longer in the water with the thermal swimwear!
- Prevents abrasion. The thick material works really well to protect tender little skins from cuts and abrasion while playing in the pool or at the beach.
- Very durable. When properly taken care of, the wetsuit typically lasts longer than a normal non-thermal swimwear.
*Where can I get a thermal swimwear for my little one?
At Baby Beachbums, we carry two types of thermal swimwear - neoprene wetsuits and fleece-lined wetsuits. We can go on and on about the awesome features of these two types, but we’ll save that for another post! In the meantime, if you are burning to know more, check out our FAQs to understand the difference between these two types!