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My children love nothing more than splashing in the ocean, playing on an inflatable boat, or even just playing in a paddling pool in the garden. Once again though, I'm feeling short changed by the summer we've had, and we really don't get enough days where they can spend hours in the water. To compensate for the horrid weather, we've bought wetsuits. These don't mean we can spend the full summer in the water, but they do mean we can get a few extra days at the beach, and they can stay out in the pool for longer on the days when it is warm enough to set it up. The wetsuits really so make a difference. My sons have been quite content laying out in the pool all day while their mates ran home turning blue and shivering. In addition to protecting them from the cold, these do also protect their shoulders from sun burn, but they still need sun cream for their necks, faces and ears.
We bought this to replace my oldest son's wetsuit. I believe this is an age 11 -12, but there is no age range on the labels. It simply says 8. I do know we ordered two sizes two large because his previous wetsuit ( another brand) was an age 8 -9 and was more suitable for my just turned 5 year old than my 8 year old. My oldest is age 8, a bit tall for his age and slim. This wet suit is just a wee bit long in the body, and I think a 9-10 would have fit better, but he is happy with it, and likes the fact that it is much easier for him to peel off after swimming. I would very strongly recommend against buying the correct age for your child though unless they are quite small for their age. I do not think an age 8-9 would have fit him at all. In most cases, I would buy one age level older than child really is.
This is made of 2.5 mm neoprene. This thickness is ideal for casual use in a pool or at the seaside. I don't think it would do for serious divers, but then you probably don't get many serious divers in this age range anyway. Most of the seams in this are quite thin, but the ones under the legs are thicker. My son does always wear a swimsuit underneath this, and I think this would be required - or at the very least shorts to prevent chafing and irritation. There are no seams under the arms, which is a good thing, but again I do think a rash vest is a good idea. Still my son has worn this with shorts only and never had a problem. He says it is very comfortable.
There were no washing instructions with this, but I can't see throwing it in the washing machine. It does stay fairly clean anyway, always being used in the water, but if it gets too sandy I simply hand wash with water only, and that seems more than sufficient to keep it clean. It doe air dry fairly quickly but it helps if you turn it inside out after a couple of hours.
I bought this from Tesco, and I believe I paid £15, which is the current price for these, but they are now out of some sizes. We have only used this one season, but so far I am quite happy with the quality as my son does have a tendency to slide down the rocks when rock pooling and the barnacle encrusted rocks tear fabric very easily. This still looks like new and I'm sure we'll get another year from it.
I am happy to recommend this suit. It comes in a wide range of sizes from baby to adult on their website, and is just the thing to keep little ones warm in the water. As these are now going out of season , it may be more difficult to find the right size with Tesco, but the TWF website and Amazon both have a fair selection. The advantage to buying in Tesco though is of course the ease of returns if you guess the size wrong.