Toddler Holiday Essentials: Swim Edition (And A Few For Mum)

toddler holiday swim essentials splash about

Forgive my naivety, but surely it can’t just be me who thought a pair of bright orange armbands and a yellow floaty seat were the be-all and end-all of holiday toddler essentials? Turns out, not so much. Luckily for me, I done a tonne of research before we went on holiday for the best swim-gear for littles, as Harrison wasn’t a fan of the water at first and a yellow floaty seat just wouldn’t have cut it. We are currently counting down to our next holiday, and I’ve already got a wish-list as long as my arm for the next batch of toddler swim bits. We did take some winners with us to Gran Canaria, but there were a few pointless items and I thought I would share the good and the bad for anyone else who is feeling a little bit overwhelmed. I also couldn’t resist the urge to share some of my favorite swim pieces for mum at the moment, because holy moly finding a swimming costume that didn’t wasn’t low cut, high cut or cut out in the middle was a task.


If you happen to be reading this post mid-June, the shop-feature of this post is not working, but it will be back up and running next week. Apologies if your one of the unlucky ones who has to google a product rather than click the link (first world problems?)…


For Swimming

At this age (Harrison is 18 months old FYI) I found that the all in one swimming suits are the best bet. Although we took a few pairs of swim shorts on holiday, putting these on him simply meant there was another area to watch like a hawk for any signs of redness, and I spent most of the time worrying if he was too cold. I really didn’t think it would be all that difficult to find a good suit – mens’ swimming shorts are easy enough to find, why should toddlers be any different? I veered towards the all-in-one’s, although options that weren’t bright red, Paw Patrol themed or that didn’t have some sort of funky looking tail were few and far between. I’ve done my research now though, and H&M is a gold mine for pastel colours and muted stripes – amen! With that being said, I can’t resist picking up a few sets of shorts and rash guards. They can be a bit of a pain in the backside trying to take off when littles are wet as the t-shirts will need to go over their heads, but sometimes needs must. The little cactus set I’ve linked below was our first purchase for our next holiday and let me tell you, it took all of the will in the world not to buy the matching little girl cossie, just because (I don’t have a girl, no plans for a girl but how cute?).

For Floation

This was where I found myself the most confused, as there really were so many options. Initially, I bought the classic Speedo Roll Up Armbands, but with such dinky arms on toddlers they just aren’t practical. Maybe in a few years, but for now, I feel much more comfortable with Harrison in a Float Jacket or a Float Suit. Both have their pros and cons’ but I’d happily use either again. While the float jacket is easier to get on and off, it can float up under the chin which is avoided in the suit. The problem with the suit is that the flotation weights really retain the water for longer, so if Harrison gets out the pool we really need to take it off of him straight away before we go anywhere. Something we’ve not tried yet but I’ve ordered ready for our next holiday are the Puddle Jumpers Arm Bands – it’s a simple pair of arm bands that connect across the body, and that clip together at the back. All of the convenience of arm bands, but a lot more secure. And boy do they look funky.



For Everything Else

At Harrisons’ age, there really isn’t much in the way of extras that we need. Floats and noodles are a bit of a waste, he won’t be underwater to justify goggles and the inflatable seats just take up space. A classic bucket and spade does the trick at the moment (hallelujah, no need to spend a billion pounds on lilos) but there are a good few extras that really came in handy. The first being something I swore I would never buy for my child: Crocs. I never wanted to join the Crocs family – I searched high and low for some clear jelly shoes, and counted my lucky chickens when I found them in Zara. They then snapped within minutes of putting them on Harrisons’ feet, and we were back to square 1. We picked up a pair of Crocs from the hotel shop for convenience, and I don’t think I’ll ever look back. They are so easy, so comfortable for him and they’ve really grown on me. I’d also recommend investing in a pair of toddler sunglasses, we bought some cheapos from Primark, and they didn’t last more than a second on Harrisons’ face, but after picking up a pair from Kidly that fit round the back of his head, I’m sold. Add a trusty hat and along with his crocs and specs, all he needs is a disposable camera to be a stereotypical tourist.

For Mum


This is certainly not toddler related, but what is it they say – happy mum, happy baby? It can’t only be me who had a right awful time trying to find a one piece swimming costume this year? I’m an online shopper, I can’t stand trying things on and the changing room mirrors give me a complex, but after my google search history resorted to ‘high waisted one piece that isn’t a thong and won’t cut me in two but doesn’t have a speedo logo or flowers on’ I was at a loss. I had a quick last ditch attempt on And Other Stories and was pleasantly surprised, they are killing the one-piece game at the moment and I know exactly where I’ll be going next time around. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m a little bit heavier than I normally like to be (*cough* 20lbs heavier) so I had scored a two-piece off of the list long ago until I decided to treat myself to a nicer bikini. I’ve eyed up Seafolly for years thanks to the aussie beauties on Instagram, and after coming across this one on Simply Beach, I decided that if ever there was a time to go for a higher price point, it was now. There is something about a nice quality bikini that can make you feel ten fold better in your own skin, and a confidence boost is well worth spending the extra dolla on.



  • Jenny says:

    Oh my son would have loved the shark swimsuit at that age! I have to agree that one pieces are so much easier at that age. Mine two didn’t go into the water until about 2 1/2 years of age when they started lessons. Now they’re almost four I can get away with a little floatation backpack – sometimes nothing – depends where we are. My son has only just started wearing two piece swimsuits – and only because he saw one with sharks on it LOL.

    As for this mum – I’m still trying to find a swimsuit to accommodate my boobs – they were big before pregnancy and did not shrink back – so I have no costumes that fit properly – most I have tried on are either too big around the waist/butt or too small around the boobs. *sigh*

  • Helen says:

    Fantastic recommendations! I really need to get my daughters a swimming suit rather than costume because they give such peace of mind when in the sun 🙂

  • Jenni says:

    Oh my goodness, these are all so cute! I have just bought my daughter a swimming suit as I love that they keep her shoulders covered. I really love the green swimsuit

  • Yes there is so many different options now for children when they go swimming. Both my girls are water babies and we’ve used float swim suits and swim jackets which have been brilliant!

  • You’ve got some great items there for both little ones and mums. We never needed any flotation devices when we went on holiday as I’d been taking our son to swimming lessons from the age of 4 months old. We did invest in some of the water toys they used in the classes to continue our learning on holidays though.

  • Shan says:

    We love the shark all in one – bought it for G last year for our holiday and he wanted it on all year! Think we need to invest in crocs too for this year. Your bikini looks lovely too!

  • Rachael says:

    All in one costumes are cool but they are a pain in the bum to get off again. Sorry to say it, but my little one has a Paw Patrol rash best/shorts combo which he loves and he can also wear it under his wetsuit when we go to the seaside. Love the float jackets and float suits, will have to get one of those for baby number two when we start swimming.

  • Gee Gardner says:

    I love the shark one! My 2 year old would love it! She’s obsessed with “baby shark” haha!

  • Janet says:

    Those costumes and rash vests that cover shoulders are fantastic, I didn’t discover them until my youngest was two and they just give so much more safety and freedom.

  • Maisie says:

    We’re not going away any time soon but this is so helpful! The float jacket is pure genius!! I didn’t even know they were a thing, wahh!! x

  • Caz says:

    Love this ❤️ My little guy will be 18 months when we head on holiday I just had no clue what he could wear In the water had kept seeing so many different floating outfits or aids. Now someone who gives a honest opinion thank you x

  • Girrrrl you look on fire in that costume – beauty! We’ve grabbed that cactus sent for Noah and I can’t wait to see him in it, Next have some amazing things in at the moment.

  • Some great inspiration here. We go to Ibiza next month and have been wondering what my 15 month old can wear as a flotation device. I’ve not seen these puddle jumper armbands before but I think I’m sold. I know historically normal blow up armbands dont work for such tiny arms so I’ll be looking into these – thanks!

  • I have a new 2 yr old and can totally relate to this! Those puddle dug arm bands look great! Will have to have a look. I shop online too and managed to find a halter neck one piece with shorts and although I’m still carrying a ton of weight I actually feel okay in it! Xx

  • Fran B# says:

    I want all these bits- and I don’t even have a boy. Some super cute pieces here!

  • Kelly-Anne says:

    Some of these picks are so adorable. He looks so cute in them too. I wouldn’t dare to get myself in a bikini yet! Haha.

  • Rebecca Fisher says:

    My daughter loved her float jacket and it gave her amazing confidence in the water x

  • Lisa says:

    Them armbands look amazing, I need to get some for Imogen for swimming. She’s so titchy but hates any flotation device winds her up and they look so cute I bet she’d love it! I haven’t looked for a swimming costume in years, not looking forward to finding one that goes right up my tooter!

  • With love from p says:

    Brilliant post. I absolutely love the floating vest. I think this would be great for my little man on holiday. Also you look amazing in your bikini. Major Inspo.

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