Whether you’re thinking about taking your baby swimming, planning a vacation near the water, or just spending time in the backyard, you may be considering a swimsuit for your baby. With so many to choose from, how do you pick the swimsuit that’s best for you and your baby?
As moms, we’ve spent hours researching the best and safest ways to spend time by and in the water with our babies. It’s tricky balancing safety, relaxation, and fun, but with some professional help, we’ve chosen the 20 best swimsuits for babies, so you can enjoy your time by the water.
- Easy diaper change zipper
- Durable, sun-safe fabric
- Minimal sun exposure design
- Full arm & leg coverage
- Sizes start at 3 months old
- Cute prints
- Two-piece suit isn’t “adult” looking
- Comes in multiple sizes
- Stands up well to repeated washings
- The waist tie keeps shorts snug
- Easy to mix & match
- UPF 50+ fabric
- Newborn to 3 years sizes
- Comfy leg cuffs
- Keeps diaper messes inside
- Includes an adjustable sun hat
- Chlorine & salt water resistant
- Comes in multiple animal styles
- Cute retro look
- Matching headband
- Available in 3 colors
- Includes sun hat & neck guard
- Front & back zip for convenience
- 14 color & pattern combos
- Doubles as a shorts & t-shirt
- Includes a sweet, matching hat
- Made from quick-dry fabric
- Sun covering long sleeves
- Doubles as an outfit with shorts/skirt
- UPF 50+ fabric
How to Choose the Best Baby Swimsuits
These are some of the factors to consider when choosing a swimsuit for babies.
The American Society of Pediatrics recommends that, because of the risk of heatstroke, babies younger than six months should be kept out of both direct and indirect sunlight (1).
You might see swimwear labeled with “UPF” protection numbers. This stands for ultraviolet protection factor. Clothing labeled as having a UPF are made of regular fabrics that have been independently tested in a laboratory and shown to block out a certain amount of UV light.
All fabrics have an inherent UPF. Light-colored or thin materials allow lots of light to pass through and do not protect you from sunburn. Fabric that has a dense enough weave or a dark enough color will reduce the amount of UV light reaching your skin (2).
Clothes without a UPF rating can still protect you from the sun. Hold the fabric up in front of a light bulb, and if you can see the bulb through the material, it is not protective against UV light.
UV or UPF labeling is helpful when choosing the best swimsuits for babies, but just because an item doesn’t have that label doesn’t mean it won’t be protective.
Baby swimsuit fabric should be lightweight to prevent overheating but thick enough to be an effective barrier against the sun. The cut can be loose for comfort but not so loose that fabric rubs and causes chafing.
Rash guards are swimsuit pieces that cover the skin, usually the top half of the body, but occasionally the bottom half too. A rash guard mustn’t be too loose because loose material won’t stay in place in the water and can slow your child down and unnecessarily expose them to the sun’s rays.
An exciting print or pattern, coordinating separates, and character-driven cuteness are good for motivating toddlers to wear their new swimsuit.
Two-piece swimwear is helpful for two reasons:
- Babies are often sized differently on their top and bottom halves. A two-piece ensures your baby’s swimwear will fit comfortably.
- Diaper changes are much more manageable when you only have to remove the bottom half of the swimwear.
However, bikini-type swimwear offers little sun protection, so it is best avoided.
You should be able to purchase a reasonable quality baby swimsuit for around $20. The average baby swimsuit costs between $15 and $30.
The Best Baby Swimsuits of 2021
We used these factors, online reviews, and our own experiences to select the best baby swimsuits.
1. Swimzip: Baby And Toddler Swimsuits
We were stoked to try out the Swimzip swimsuits because they are labeled as chlorine and salt water resistant, and they didn’t disappoint. After a month of use, in and out of salt water, fresh water, and chlorinated pools, the suit still looks like new.
A long zipper reaches the bottom of the leg seam, which makes diaper changes so easy. The 100% polyester material has a 50+ UPF rating, so you don’t have to worry about sun exposure.
The only problem we found is that the sizing runs from 0–6 months and 6–12 months, making sizing selection tricky for some.
- Full-length zipper for easy diaper changes.
- Durable, sun-safe fabric.
- Full-length arms and legs make for minimal sun exposure.
- Sizing is difficult to choose as ranges are very wide.
2. The Tiny Universe: UV Protection Sunsuit
For full-body protection, it’s hard to beat this UV protection suit from The Tiny Universe. The suit is made from 84% polyester and 16% spandex, giving it enough flexibility to move with your child without being so loose as to chafe.
There’s a durable YKK zipper down the back with a zipper guard to ensure it doesn’t touch the skin.
We found it stood up well to a lot of crawling on the sand and even older kids climbing on rocks. It’s easy to wash, and quick to dry.
- Full arm and leg coverage.
- Sizes start at three months.
- Cute prints.
- No leg opening, so it’s tricky for diaper changes.
3. RuffleButts: Baby/Toddler 2-Piece Swimsuit Set
Developed by a US mom, these Rufflebutts two-piece sets combine adorable swimsuit bottoms with the cutest layers of ruffles with matching rash-guard tops that are available in sizes from three months to ten years.
We love the fact that the bottoms are easily removable for diaper changes and that buying two or more sets for a holiday means you can mix and match tops and bottoms.
- Two-piece suit isn’t “adult” looking.
- Multiple sizes make it possible to match older siblings.
- Stands up well to repeated washings.
- Ruffles can hang on to a surprising amount of sand!
4. Simple Joys by Carter's: 2-piece Baby Swimsuit
Carter’s Simple Joys baby swimsuits are available exclusively on Amazon. They are the same standard and fit as any Carter’s swimsuits you can buy in the store, so sizing isn’t a problem.
We particularly like that you can buy a couple of these two-piece sets and mix and match them. The shorts can be made snug because the drawstring runs all around the waist, not just at the front like some other examples.
- The waist tie keeps shorts snug.
- Easy to mix and match.
- 50+ UPF fabric
- Not all styles have long sleeves.
5. Splash About: Happy Nappy™ Swim Diapers
When it comes to swimming indoors, you may not want to bother with a full-coverage swimsuit for your baby.
If you’re looking for baby swimwear for indoor swimming, we recommend Happy Nappy swim diapers because they are colorful, well-fitting, and most importantly, prevent embarrassing accidents in the pool by holding any poops in.
A soft but snug waistband and leg cuffs hold this swim diaper in place, but they aren’t so tight as to get uncomfortable or leave elastic marks.
- Available in sizes from newborn to three years.
- Leg cuffs are comfy on the chunkiest thighs.
- Keeps diaper messes from escaping into the pool.
- It doesn’t provide body coverage when outside.
6. Cuddle Club: Baby and Toddler One-Piece Swimsuit
This cute swimsuit comes with a matching wide-brimmed sun hat. Depending on which color you chose, the hat comes with bear ears or a duck, penguin, or flamingo bill with eyes, making these suits a charming swimwear option.
The UPF 50+ suit has long sleeves, knee-length legs, and a zipper that runs halfway down the trunk.
- Includes an adjustable sun hat.
- Chlorine and salt water-resistant.
- The hat fits large.
- The swimsuit runs smaller than typical sizes, so get a size up.
7. China Rose: 50's Floral Bathing Suit
If you’re looking for a gorgeous floral swimsuit with a 1950s retro vibe, this is the option for you. A simple halter neck cut makes this a breeze to get on and off, which is ideal for easy diaper changes, and you never have to wrangle wriggly arms through any stretchy fabric.
- Cute retro look
- Matching headband.
- Doesn’t provide much sun protection.
- Only one size for babies (0–12 months).
8. Upandfast: Baby/Toddler One Piece Sunsuits & Hat
These light, stretchy swimsuits come in a variety of styles. Choose from a selection of full or mid-length arm coverage and knee-length leg coverage. The matching hat shields babies’ faces from the sun while providing neck coverage in the back
There are no lower snaps for easy diaper changes, so the entire swimsuit needs to be removed for diaper changes.
Also, if the hat gets wet and dries while the rim is folded, it will remain bent. This is easy to fix by soaking the cap and leaving something heavy on the rim while it dries.
- Coordinating sun hat with neck guard included.
- 14 color and pattern combos available.
- Hat brim is foam and can become misshapen.
- No bottom snaps for diaper changes.
9. DNggAND: Three-Piece Swimwear Set
This three-piece swimwear set consists of shorts, a t-shirt, and a matching hat. Choose from a dinosaur, crab, or shark set, each with unique detailing. For example, the dinosaur has three sweet, soft spines running down the back of the shirt.
We particularly like that this set is made with quick-dry fabric. It’s suitable for playing in the water but looks just like a regular t-shirt and shorts. It can be worn for shopping, eating out, or any other off-beach activities.
- Doubles as a shorts and t-shirt combo.
- Includes a sweet, matching hat that toddlers will want to wear.
- The shorts are very short.
- Faux pockets are upside down and not useful for holding anything.
10. RuffleButts: Baby/Toddler Long Sleeved One Piece
The RuffleButts brand makes a range of coordinating mix-and-match swimwear for babies. This makes it easy to dress your baby in a swimsuit at the beach and throw on some shorts or a skirt to create an outfit without having to do a complete clothing change.
Although this swimsuit pulls on over the head and is held snug with a zipper at the back, there are snaps at the bottom, making it easy to do a quick diaper change without having to remove the entire suit.
- Long sleeves provide better sun coverage.
- Can be worn out of water as an outfit with shorts or a skirt.
- UPF 50+ fabric keeps baby’s delicate skin safe from the sun’s rays.
- Snug fit makes it tricky to pull onto wiggly toddlers.
- Zero leg coverage.
11. SwimZip: 3 Piece Long Sleeved Rash Guard
This unique swimsuit includes a tank top and a long-sleeved jacket-style zippered top to provide flexible coverage options. You can dress your little one in the shorts and tank top for indoor swimming or when you’re in the shade or add the rash guard jacket for full sun protection.
This trio can also be worn as an outfit away from the beach, allowing you to get more use from it.
- Flexible coverage options.
- Easy for diaper changes.
- The smallest size is 6–12 months
- Two layers may be too hot for little ones.
12. Green Sprouts: Swimsuit with Built-in Swim Diaper
Having to buy or use swim diapers under a baby’s swimsuit can be costly and annoying, which is why we are big fans of this swimsuit by Green Sprouts.
This baby swimsuit includes a reusable cloth diaper that is built right into the design. The legs and body fit snuggly, so if your baby poops while in the water, none of the solid waste will escape the suit. However, it is not waterproof, so if you’re holding your baby and they pee, you will get wet.
- No need for an additional swim diaper.
- Allows for plenty of movement in the pool.
- Sizes run small.
- Changing baby after a messy poop is a challenge.
13. Bonverano: Baby Girl’s Bathing Suit
An excellent swimsuit for the price, this 50+ UPF one-piece sunsuit has mid-length sleeves and knee-length bottoms and comes with a matching hat.
A fabric strip on the inside of the suit, behind the zipper, prevents your baby’s delicate skin from being irritated.
The matching hat includes a neck guard for better sun protection and fits snuggly on baby’s head. We didn’t have any issues with it falling off.
- Cute tropical patterns.
- 50+ UPF fabrics.
- Comes with a matching hat, without annoying ties.
- Pattern panels can be misaligned, which looks odd.
14. i Play: Two-Piece Rash Guard
If you’re a cloth diaper user, you know how it can be challenging to find reusable swim diapers that fit well under a swimsuit. That’s why this baby swimsuit set by Green Sprouts is a good option for cloth diaper users.
The cloth diaper bottoms are simple to remove, and the rash guard tops (that won’t fade in saltwater) provide protection from the sun. Both pieces come in vibrant-colored modern designs, unlike anything else we’ve tried.
- Gorgeous colors, patterns, and details.
- Great for cloth diaper users.
- Not all bottoms have snaps, making messy diaper changes challenging.
- You’ll need to buy a size up for chunky-thighed babies.
15. Uideazone: Zipper Rash Guard Swimsuit
An affordable option with many pattern choices, this rash guard swimsuit is from Uideazone is an excellent choice if you love variety. Choose from over 30 options for boys or girls. If you can’t decide, the affordable price tag makes it easy to buy more than one.
These adorable baby swimsuits tend to run a little big, so you can choose to size down, or purchase the correct size to get extra use out of them.
- 30+ designs to chose from.
- Thin, comfortable fabric offers UPF 50+ sun coverage.
- Inconsistent quality standards.
- Without any leg snaps, diaper changes are challenging.
16. Gerber: Long-Sleeved Rash Guard Baby Swimsuit
These sweet two-piece baby swimsuits from Gerber are adorable. Choose from three cute fruit or ice cream prints. And because they’re machine washable and dryable, these swimsuits are straightforward to care for.
However, the bottoms run pretty large, even with a diaper under them. And the tops tend to ride up a little on chunkier babes, leaving bellies exposed to the sunshine.
- Machine washable and dryable.
- Bottoms are huge and may require a bulkier swim diaper under them to fit.
- Top rides up exposing bellies and backs to the sun’s rays.
17. Bonverano: UPF 50+ Sun Protection Zip Swimsuit
This Bonverano swimsuit is made with OEKOTEX-100 Certified Fabrics that are independently tested and rated free from substances harmful to human health (3).
The swimsuit itself has undergone testing against AS/NZS 4399 — a sun-protection standard against which items are independently tested. There’s even a photoreactive logo that turns purple if the sun is too intense, alerting you to move your child into the shade.
- Photoreactive logo lets you know when the sun’s rays are too strong.
- Independently tested to meet UPF50+ sun protection standards.
- Must be carefully hand washed to maintain sun protection.
- Hats run small while suits run big.
18. Green Sprouts: Trunks with Built-in Swim Diaper
These swimming trunks with a built-in swim diaper are an excellent option for little ones going to the pool or just playing in the yard.
The diaper section is snug around the legs and waist to keep in any messes. This can cause an issue with chunkier babies as they can be too tight for comfort. Going up a size will help with the tightness, but then the shorts will be very long.
- Durable material holds up to lots of wear.
- Keeps diaper messes from leaking.
- Decorative drawstring means you can’t tighten the shorts.
- Very tight waist.
19. SwimZip: Two-Piece Long-Sleeved Swimsuit
Instead of the typical t-shirt or long-sleeved top, this rash guard set from Swim Zip has a jacket-like top with a full-length zipper down the front. This makes it easy to dress and undress your baby.
These cute swimsuits include fun details such as ruffled layers, flowers, or lacy pompom trims.
However, the higher cut of these swimsuit bottoms seems to be designed more for older children who don’t wear swim diapers. For babies, the cut exposes their swim diaper and looks a little unusual.
- Full-length zipper makes for easy dressing and undressing.
- Decorative details may not wash well.
- Bottoms have an odd, higher cut, revealing swim diapers underneath.
- Stiff zipper can be hard to adjust.
20. Amazon Essentials Two-Piece Baby Rash Guard
This simple, two-piece rash guard set from Amazon comes in a variety of colors and prints.
Although these sets are cute, they would be more functional if they maintained standard sizing for babies and toddlers. We found that even on a petite three-month-old baby, the nine-month-old size was just about the right fit.
Apart from the sizing issues, we found that the fabric had a chemical smell, which dissipated after a short while of being out of the packaging.
- Very budget-friendly swimsuit.
- Comes in a variety of cute prints.
- Long sleeves and UPF 50+ fabric protect arms from the sun’s rays.
- Tight fit over the head.
- Sizes run extremely small.
- The fabric has an initial chemical smell.
Baby Swimsuit FAQs
As moms of babies who spend a lot of time in the water, these are the questions we hear most.
Do Babies Wear Diapers in the Pool?
Regular disposable diapers absorb water and swell up in the water, so you cannot use them in the pool. Instead, you can purchase disposable or reusable swim diapers.
Swim diapers have a snug-fitting waist and legs to keep solid waste from escaping into the water. However, they have no absorbent layers to contain urine.
At What Age Can Babies Swim?
The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies under one year cannot lift their heads out of the water to breathe (4). They may show reflexive swimming movements, but they cannot swim safely enough to avoid drowning.
However, the AAP also says that although infant swimming lessons aren’t advisable before your child’s first birthday. Parent and child water play classes or spending time together in the pool is fine after your baby is two months old.
Are Rash Guards Necessary?
A rash guard is a piece of clothing that protects you from the sun, is fitted enough to be comfortable without causing chafing, and dries quickly after you’ve been in the water.
While not strictly necessary, a rash guard will help protect your child from harmful UV rays while allowing them to move comfortably and freely in and out of the water without having to change their clothes constantly.
Is a Chlorine Pool Safe for Babies?
Scientific research suggests there could be a connection between chlorine in swimming pools and an increased risk of asthma or bronchitis in babies under one year. However, the results are conflicting, and more study is needed.
It is thought that the sweat, skin cells, and dirt from swimmer’s bodies combine with the chlorine to create by-products that may impact a baby’s developing lungs.
Open-air pools and indoor pools with better ventilation will help to mitigate any risks. So too will showering yourself and your baby before and after spending time in the pool (5).
If you have already been in a chlorine pool with your baby, there’s no need to worry. You haven’t done anything that guarantees harm to them.
When Can You Put Sunscreen on a Baby?
Do not apply sunscreen to a baby younger than six months (6). Until they reach the half-year mark, a baby’s skin is too delicate, sensitive, and permeable for sunscreen to be safe. Instead, the following measures can protect your baby from the sun’s rays:
- Keep babies out of direct and indirect sunlight.
- Dress your baby in lightweight, loose clothing and cover up as much of their skin as possible.
- Ensure your baby wears a sun hat that shades their face and protects their neck from the sun.
- For babies older than six months, apply a small amount of sunscreen to any remaining exposed skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outside.
Raising Water Babies
The best baby swimsuits are those that are comfortable, convenient, and safe.
To make the best choice for your baby, consider how much of your baby’s skin will be covered by a swimsuit to protect them from the sun’s harmful rays. Then think about how easy it will be for your baby to move about and explore the great outdoors.
Finally, consider the practical things such as how easy it will be to wrangle your child into and out of a particular swimsuit, and how difficult it will be to change your baby’s diaper when they’re wearing their swimsuit.