Children that are concentrating on keeping warm are not able to concentrate on learning how to swim!
I recommend thermal wear for children learning to swim in indoor pools (and even for adults in adult accompanied classes). The WHY's are below.
Please note there is a difference between a wetsuit and a rash guard. The former is of neoprene and acts to retain heat by trapping a layer of water between the skin and the suit. See above for examples of baby wraps and wetsuits. The latter is for sun protection and cools the body down as moisture remains stuck between the skin and material.
Water thermals are made out of neoprene and designed to keep your child warmer in the water. The thicker the material, the warmer it will be. Thermals need to fit snuggly in order to be effective. A loose fitting wetsuit will not keep your child warm. Thermal swimwear includes Baby Wraps, full length wetsuits and short wetsuits also known as Shorties, as seen below.
Buy them from: Escapade Sports (Repulse Bay has a better selection), GigaSports (Pacific Place), Decathlon and Wing On. In addition I have found the following sold online:
Picked by Poppins
Please comment if you know of any other places that sell wetsuits!
This is why:
- Being cold is uncomfortable. Learning is much easier and pleasant when you are comfortable.
- Learn to swim programmes often don't allow enough physical activity for young children to generate enough heat to keep warm.
- Young children have much less tolerance than you of keeping warm in a wet environment. They can feel the cold a lot more than you.
- The pool is heated during winter months (Oct/Nov - April) (to 28C, but from my own experience, there can be much variation in how warm or cool the pool feels from day to day. Some days even I feel cold with a full body wetsuit!
- During Summer months (April - Oct/Nov) the pool is not heated at all and never warms up as it is indoors. Great for lap swimmers but too cold for learn-to-swim students.
- The air temperature may or may not be heated. During winter, hot air may be blown into the pool area, creating a much more pleasant environment - but sometimes its not! During summer, cool air is blown into the pool area - making it very cold when wet!
Some other things!
Depending on the age of the child, they shouldn't be in the water for more than 30 to 45 minutes.
If your child is turning blue or shivering uncontrollably, please take them out immediately and put them in a warm shower.
Please only take off your child's thermal wear when they are in a warm shower. Taking it off poolside will just cause them to become more cold!