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Reviewed by our gears Geeks:

BUYERS GUIDE ON THE BEST KIDS WETSUITS in 2020

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Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 23 different Kids Wetsuits and write reviews of the best.

The result is 7 of the best Kids Wetsuits on the market today.

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Karl Beckman

Outdoor Enthusiast  A former professional athlete, Karl is now an avid outdoor sports expert.

torben lonne

Torben Lonne

Editor at DIVEIN.com Torben is a dive nut, with a passion for traveling and gear.

Choosing a kid wetsuit is no easy task.

Different features must be considered based on a child’s needs.

These include wetsuit’s types, fit, structure, and thickness. If it’s your first time purchasing a kid wetsuit, the different choices available can be a bit overwhelming.

To guide you in buying, we list the answers to all possible questions in buying the best wetsuits for your kids.

  • What are wetsuits made of and how do they work?
  • When can kids begin wearing wetsuits?
  • Are there wetsuits for babies?
  • What about the size?
  • Why kids should wear wetsuits?
  • What to consider when buying a kids wetsuit?

Plus, we featured the 7 best kids wetsuits available on the market to lessen your time in choosing and getting a good deal. Read on to find out which one suits your child that is within your budget.

Flatlock seams, high stretch neoprene, solid knee padding, and a back zip for easy on and off make this an all-around winner of a wetsuit. Also of note are the “seamless paddle zones” which allow for the utmost mobility while swimming and paddling. With full and spring suit models, the O’Neill Youth Reactor 2 is an excellent option for beginners level surfing, diving, paddle sports, and other aquatic activities. 
o’neill youth reactor 2
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the O’Neill Youth Reactor 2:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
What we like:
  • Flatlock seams for comfort and insulation
  • Flexible neoprene
  • Quality knee padding
  • Seamless paddle zones
What we don’t like:
  • Expensive
A consistent bestseller on Amazon, Realon delivers a quality wetsuit with models specifically tailored for boys and girls. With a versatile design and emphasis on warmth, the 3mm thickness is suitable for both cold and warm water temperatures. Flatlock seams and environmentally friendly neoprene ensure topnotch comfort, while premium velcro and zipper fasteners make it simple for kids to put on and take off with limited or no assistance. 
realon kids wetsuit
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Realon Kids Wetsuit:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
What we like:
  • Flatlock seams for comfort and insulation
  • Premium velcro
  • Zipper fasteners for easy on and off
What we don’t like:
  • Issues with fitting to skinny kids
  • Possibility of a chemical smell
Flatlock seams and 50+ UV protection are among the highlights of this affordable kids wetsuit. Customized to enhance warmth without being too thick or restrictive, both the Lemorecn shorty and full kids wetsuits are noted for flexibility and comfort in the water. An extended back zipper leash makes taking it on and off a breeze, while several choices in color provides options for kids to pick a preferred style.
lemorecn kids
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Lemorecn Kids:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
What we like:
  • Flatlock seams for comfort and insulation
  • 50+ UV protection
  • Flexible material 
  • Extended back zipper leash
What we don’t like:
  • Sizing runs small
One of the bestselling full kids wetsuits on Amazon, the 3mm Vigor 1 Spirit is an outstanding option for cold water activities. Special neck, armpit, foot, and cuff cuts provide comfort while keeping water entry at a minimum. Great service is present through a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, 2 year warranty against manufacturing defects, and lifetime replacement guarantee.
hevto vigor 1 spirit kids
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Hevto Vigor 1 Spirit Kids:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
What we like:
  • Very warm
  • Comfortable
  • Great insulation
  • Great customer service
What we don’t like:
  • Sizing can be off – tends to run small
Offering standout quality for an incredible price, Ireenuo provides affordable wetsuit options for babies, small children, and young teenagers. Full length with 2.5mm thickness, the wetsuit is made to maximize warmth and protection. A cushioning cover inside the back zipper and eco-friendly fabric guard against skin irritation, while the curved design fits to the body for fluid mobility. With an assortment of color schemes to choose from, kids can select a look they love to compliment the functionality and unbeatable price of this wetsuit.
ireenuo kids wetsuit
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Ireenuo Kids Wetsuit:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
What we like:
  • Affordable 
  • Cover over the inside of the zipper for comfort
  • Eco-friendly fabric
  • Curved design fits well to the body
What we don’t like:
  • Zipper prone to problems  
Ideal for kids between the ages of 2 and 10, this is a simple, effective, and affordable wetsuit option for small children. 1.5mm neoprene on the front and back helps maintain core temperature, while thinner sides and sleeves made from elastic fabric allows for great mobility in the water without sacrificing skin protection. The wetsuit comes in long and short-sleeve models, both featuring a front zipper for painless entry and exit. This is an optimal suit for young children to explore their love of the water in the pool, lake, or sea.
cressi kids
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the Cressi Kids:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
What we like:
  • Affordable
  • Flexible fabric on sides and sleeves for good mobility
  • Front zipper for easy on and off
  •  
What we don’t like:
  • Can have a strong chemical scent
A premium wetsuit option for babies and toddlers. This 2mm, all-neoprene suit is tailored to keep little ones warm in the water for lengthy periods of time. The back zip design prevents both accidental unzipping and neck irritation, while the slender build optimizes comfort and movability in the water. It’s certainly on the expensive side, but the quality doesn’t get much better for babies and toddlers wetsuits. 
o’neill toddler reactor
We’ve done all the work for you and found the best prices on the O’Neill Toddler Reactor:
Our recommendations:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
What we like:
  • Very warm
  • Great back zip design for comfort and protection
  • Flexible design for comfort and mobility
  •  
What we don’t like :
  • Expensive

Questions & Answers:

Understanding Kids Wetsuits

Whether a budding diver, the world’s next surfing star, or simply a swimmer who’ll do anything for ten more minutes in the waves, a wetsuit can be invaluable for a water-loving youngster. 

1.  What are wetsuits made of and how do they work?

For those not familiar, a wetsuit is a tight-fitting, insulating garment made from an elastic substance called neoprene. First invented in the 1930s, neoprene is a synthetic rubber material consisting of tiny nitrogen bubbles. When pieces of neoprene are stacked atop one another, as is the case with wetsuits, the layers of little bubbles create a strong insulating buffer between the body and the water. 

Neoprene does not completely block out water, but this is precisely the quality that allows wetsuits to work. Wetsuits function by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the neoprene, which is then warmed by body heat. The warmed layer of water harnessed by the wetsuit allows you to stay comfortable and safe in any water temperature for an extended period of time. 

2. When can kids begin wearing wetsuits? 

From their first day in the water. Considering the benefits, it’s never too early to think about a wetsuit for your kid(s). 

3. Are there wetsuits for babies? 

Indeed there are. Being particularly prone to getting cold in the water, babies and toddlers wetsuits are perfect for keeping little ones comfortable and warm through swim lessons or days at the beach. In addition to warmth, baby wetsuits also provide extra buoyancy, which can be especially beneficial for youngsters learning to swim. 

4. What about the size?

Like every article of clothing, your child will quickly outgrow a kids wetsuit. Given this fact of life, you may question whether or not it’s worth it to buy such a specialized garment that will be off to a second hand shop in the near future. With the prospect of such a short period of use, it may be enticing to skimp on quality and price, or also to purchase an ill-fitting size your kid can “grow into.” 

However, the benefits of a quality, well-fitting kids wetsuit are difficult to ignore. To maximize your aqua-child’s safety and enjoyment, and also keep your parental mind at ease, there may be nothing better than a well-fitting kids wetsuit. 

Individual brands have their own size guidelines, meaning it’s important to consult the size chart of the brand you’re interested in before making a purchase. Additionally, some wetsuits may run a bit large or small depending on the brand, just like the size irregularities that are common between shoe and clothing companies. 

Having kids try on wetsuits before buying one is ideal, but obviously, this isn’t possible for everyone. For many, online orders are the most convenient or only feasible option for purchasing a kids wetsuit. Given the potential for fitting issues, it’s important to understand that the return of ill-fitting wetsuits is generally a hassle-free endeavor when dealing with trusted brands. Returning a product bought online is never optimal, but considering the importance of a kids wetsuit fitting properly, it’s good to keep in mind that online returns tend to be a painless process.

kids wetsuit guide

5. Why kids should wear wetsuits?

Depending on the climate, the body of water, and type of aquatic activities your kid is partaking in, it can be difficult to know whether or not he or she should be in a wetsuit. In many cases a kids wetsuit may seem unnecessary. The water may be warm and the activity laid back. Swimming in a Great Lake or snorkeling in the Caribbean, after all, isn’t the same as riding waves in the mighty Pacific. 

But in reality, just because your kids aren’t catching swells or learning scuba doesn’t mean it’s unnecessary to suit them up in neoprene. Whether frolicking in freshwater or immersed in sub-tropical temperatures, a wetsuit provides several features that are indispensable to your kids health and enjoyment during aquatic activities. 

Wetsuits help keep kids warm in the water

The number one reason behind the invention of the wetsuit: it keeps you warm in the water. This benefit is particularly important when it comes to kids given their predilection for spending time in the water, often regardless of the temperature. Generally more active in the water than adults, it’s easy for kids to either not realize or simply ignore that they are, in fact, cold. This can be hazardous considering children’s bodies are less adept at regulating temperature than adults, therefore making kids more prone to hypothermia. 

The temperature doesn’t have to be frigid for cold to set in, as the loss of body heat occurs even in the finest of tropical waters. As such, whether the water temperature is objectively cold or not, a wetsuit is a solid solution for insulating kids from heat loss, allowing them to be safe and comfortable for long sessions in the water. 

Wetsuits help protect kids from the sun

It goes without question that sun-screen is not something that crosses the mind of youngsters when aquatic fun is at hand. Considering kids are more susceptible to sunburn and long-term skin damage from harmful rays, protection is at a premium when kids take to the water. Sun-screen is obviously the common choice for sun protection, but even the best quality will eventually wash off and require reapplication after a period of time in the water. Covering almost the entire body and repelling dangerous UV rays, a wetsuit provides comprehensive and efficient sun protection for kids spending time in the water.

Wetsuits help protect kids from stinging sea critters

It depends on where you’re swimming, but coldness and sunburn may not be the only pitfalls that can quickly sour a great day in the water. Several unassuming sea animals common along many coastlines can be hazardous to swimming children. Chief amongst the group are jellyfish, which can be almost invisible before applying a painful and potentially dangerous sting. With a layer of rubber defending against jellyfish and other stinging sea creatures, wetsuits are a great way to keep kids safe from such threats. 

Wetsuits help protect kids from abrasions

It’s no secret that oceans and other bodies of water are capable of knocking around the sturdiest of adults with the greatest of ease. Kids, therefore, are even most vulnerable to the power of a wave or current – with reefs, rocks, and even a sandy sea bottom posing risk of scrapes and cuts. Covering most of the body (depending on the type), a wetsuit is a great way to protect your kid’s skin from underwater hazards as a result of waves, currents, or just an innocent fall while playing in the shallows. 

Wetsuits provide kids extra buoyancy 

While not an adequate substitute for a lifejacket, a wetsuit does offer floatation support. For kids learning to surf, snorkel, or simply swimming, the bonus buoyancy of a wetsuit can help preserve the energy required to stay afloat, making for safer, longer-lasting, and more enjoyable experiences in the water. 

6. What to consider when buying a kids wetsuit?

Like adult wetsuits, kids wetsuits come in several different forms and feature various intricacies tailored to specific needs. When choosing a kids wetsuit it’s important to bear in mind water temperature, type of activity, and also personal qualities and preferences of the wearer (for example: if your child gets cold easily). 

That said, in order to find the best wetsuit for your kid, you should consider the following.

Wetsuit Type

There are four main categories of wetsuits to choose from.

Full: The complete, long-sleeve wetsuit covering the body, arms, and legs. Ideal in cold water but also fit for warmer temperatures (depending on thickness). In addition to offering the most warmth, a full suit provides the most protection from sun, abrasions, and other hazards.

Shorty/Spring suit: Short sleeve and cut above the knees, though the length of cover can vary on the arms and legs. Generally designed for warmer temperatures and in-between seasons (hence “spring suit”), the shorty – particularly thicker models – is still adept at protecting core body temperature. 

Long John: Sleeveless but extends entirely over the legs. Used in warmer temperatures and provides extra mobility through the upper body for swimming, but does leave the arms unprotected. 

Separates: Two-piece wetsuit divided at the waist. Allows for mix and matching between tops and bottoms depending on activity and temperature. 

Wetsuit Thickness

Wetsuits vary in thickness from a half millimeter to well over 5 mm, with each measure being optimal for a particular range of water temperatures. 

When thinking about the thickness of your kids wetsuit you should take into account not only the temperature of the water your kid will be swimming in but also air temperature and your kids sensibility to cold. The thicker the wetsuit, the more warmth it provides. But also, the thicker the wetsuit, the more restrictive it is to movement. 

wetsuit guide

Wetsuit Fit

As mentioned prior, sizing a kids wetsuit can be a little tricky given that wetsuit sizes fluctuate depending on the brand, as well as the fact that your kid will, sooner than later, grow out of the wetsuit. Tempting as it may be to buy a size up and let your young one “grow into it,” the benefits of a kids wetsuit are highly contingent upon it fitting correctly. 

Regarding warmth, a wetsuit needs to fit snug to the body. Too much space between your kids skin and the neoprene will allow water to move freely in and out of the suit, defeating the purpose of trapping a little water to generate heat around the body. 

But while your kids wetsuit should be snug, it also needs to provide comfort and flexibility. It should not make it difficult to lift their arms, crouch down, or rotate their shoulders. In other words, it shouldn’t make swimming difficult. 

Your kids wetsuit needs to strike the right balance between fit and flexibility. It’s important to take your time with the sizing process, find the right fit, and, even as you dread the prospect of buying a new, larger one in six months, resist the urge to buy a wetsuit for your little one to “grow into.” 

Wetsuit Structure

Oft overlooked, seams and zippers are important aspects in choosing a kids wetsuit, as both impact comfort and functionality. 

Types of Wetsuit Seams

Often the sign of a cheap, low quality product, a wetsuit with poor seam construction can limit flexibility, irritate the skin, and allow water to move through the suit (i.e. it leaks). The usual suspects for such problems are wetsuits with overlock, a common type of clothing stitching causing an inward bulge along the seam, making them more likely to bother the skin and more susceptible to leakage.

Flatlock, on the other hand, is made by stitching panels overtop of each other to create a flat, smooth seam that is less likely to irritate the skin and enables better flexibility. Another option is blindstitch, also known as GBS (Glued Blind-Stitched), which connects panels with stitching inside the neoprene and features a layer of glue over the stitching to better secure the seam. In addition to glue, seams of any type may also be bolstered by tape or liquid sealant to protect against leaks.

Still allowing a bit of water flow given the external stitching, flatlock is best suited for warmer temperatures and spring suits. Reinforced by glue, blindstitch is ideal for insulation in cold water. 

Types of Wetsuit Zippers

While also factoring into comfort and quality, variations in zippers revolve primarily around the convenience of getting your kid in and out of a wetsuit. There are three types of wetsuit zippers: back zip, chest zip, and no zip. 

With a vertical zipper usually stretching from the collar down to the waist, back zip is the traditional form of wetsuit zipper. Back zip wetsuits tend to make for easier entry and exit, though they can also be more restrictive and vulnerable to water entry. 

Chest zip wetsuits feature a shorter diagonal or horizontal zipper in the front of the wetsuit, sometimes allowing the upper area around the collar to fully detach from the rest of the suit. A chest zip lends to better flexibility and defense against water flushing through the suit, though it can be more difficult to get the wetsuit on and off. 

No zip wetsuits need little explanation. Without any zippers, no zip wetsuits are the most flexible and secure against the water flow of the three, though as one may imagine, entry and exit can be a struggle. 

Thus, depending on the needs and self-sufficiency of your kid, there are several wetsuit zipper options that all have their pros and cons. No zip and front zip may be best suited for older kids and teens that can handle entry and exit on their own, while back zip is the most convenient way to go for younger children or those that may require a helping hand to slip into the neoprene. 

In Summary 

From little ones just starting swim lessons to youngsters beginning to hone their watersport skills, a wetsuit is an important piece of equipment to consider for kids who love spending time in the water. 

Sizing can be challenging and there are some intricate elements to consider, but it’s well worth the time to find the right wetsuit for your kid(s). After all, the benefits of added warmth, protection, and buoyancy can make a world of difference in their experience with aquatic activities. 

Considering buying a kids wetsuit or already have one? Don’t hesitate to leave comments, questions, or share your experience with kids wetsuits. 

If you already have a kid wetsuit or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

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