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Whether your child is a beginner swimmer, on a competitive swim team, or splashing in the kiddie pool all day every day, a swimming cap for kids is a swim gear essential. Wearing one can be really beneficial — both for your kid and for you as the parent who’s probably tired of dealing with wet, chlorine-soaked hair. (Or is that just us?)
Competitive swimmer, swimming coach, and parent Michael Butler believes swimming caps for kids are a great addition to a water-filled summer. “As a parent, you want your kids to stay safe in the water and most importantly that they can keep themselves safe if a dangerous situation occurs. Swimming caps for kids are another small puzzle piece in this,” he says.
Should kids wear swim caps?
Yes! Kids’ ears are very sensitive, and wearing swimming caps can help prevent swimmer’s ear and potential ear infections. A swim cap will also keep your child’s hair dry-ish, which means it’ll be less likely to turn green from the chlorine — a not-so-fun side effect you might remember from your own childhood. Some water might still seep in, because you know, liquid.
“[Swimming caps] have benefits like keeping the hair out of the kids’ eyes and reducing the chances of disorientation that results in panic,” Butler adds. “However, the biggest advantage might be protection from the sun when swimming outdoors in the summer heat.”
As Butler mentioned, swim caps are great for keeping hair out of kids’ faces and keeping kids warmer while in and out of the water. They can also help competitive swimmers with long hair swim faster since their hair is wrapped and won’t create a drag. Plus, they’re just cool-looking. (Check out these goggles for more essential swim gear.)
And for the parents who take your kiddos to busy pools, crowded beaches, swimming competitions, etc., Butler mentions that swimming caps are great for easily spotting your little one in the water. “It might be easier for you to spot your child by looking for the cap rather than the wet hair,” he says. Your little swimmer would also be more inclined to wear one if it features their favorite color or character.
What kind of swim cap is best?
Kids usually prefer a swim cap that doesn’t pull their hair out when they take it off (shocking, right?), so it’s probably best to avoid one made of latex, which is known to be the most challenging to put on and take off, not to mention it can cause allergic reactions. The kid-friendly options are lycra and silicone, silicone being the most popular. Lycra caps are the easiest to put on since they’re made of fabric, but they aren’t waterproof. Silicone swim caps are tight and conforming, durable, less restrictive, and are mostly waterproof. Below are a variety of unisex swim caps for kids of all swim levels.
Best Swimming Caps for Kids
A swim cap that won’t make your kids throw things at you. Genius. Elastomeric caps offer greater elasticity and increased stretch, making them easier to put on and take off. It’s not going to keep hair completely dry, but it’s good for keeping thick hair out of their face. This swim cap comes in blue, pink, black, and yellow, and it works best for kids ages 6 to 14.
One Reviewer Says: “I bought this for my 6-years-old, he likes it because it is easy to put on and take off. Speedo's swim cap is better than the swim caps that we bought from other brand. It is thicker than the cheaper ones, and it's not easy to break.”
A comfortable fit for kids with long or short hair, this swim cap is made of durable silicone that’s built to last. But if it doesn’t, it’s a 2-pack, so there’s always a backup! It’s designed for kids ages 2 to 12 (choose from two sizes), and it comes in three color and design options.
One Reviewer Wrote: “These caps are great. They fit as advertised. My girls' hair has benefitted from the tight fit of the caps. They put their hair in buns and once the cap is placed over their heads, they're practically airtight. Very little water seeps through these caps. In fact, so little water seeps through that my girls' hair looks better than it did before. These caps are helping preserve beautiful hair. And for girls, that is important.”
When your child has a lot of hair, you might be looking for slightly more comfortable options when it comes to swim caps. This one is great for long hair, dreadlocks, natural hair, curly hair, and extensions. It’s made out of waterproof silicone, so you don’t have to worry about pool water ruining their style. Each cap also comes with a nose clip and a pair of ear plugs.
One Reviewer Says: “Love it! My daughter has long and thick hair and this swim cap was perfect for her. We are very happy with this swim cap!”
This thick silicone swim cap is designed for kids with smaller heads (aka, toddlers and preschoolers), and they’ll definitely need help putting it on — but that’s to be expected. Choose from 16 unique colors and designs (including several super heroes!) that add some personality to the swim cap.
Arena is a trusted brand for swimcaps, and this red cap will make your child feel like they’re getting ready for the Olympics. Made with sweat-wicking material, this cap is great for all children. This particular cap is their classic fit, which is great for beginners. And with such a low price point, it’s great for parents who are unsure whether or not their kids will stick with swim class.
For the unicorn-obsessed kid, this silicone swim cap is the coolest. The company states that the swim cap works well for kids ages 3 to 12, but according to reviews, it runs on the smaller side. It comes in pink and purple, and as a fun bonus (and to become the world’s greatest parent, temporarily of course), you have the option to buy matching unicorn goggles.
One Reviewer Says: “I have a 5-year-old daughter who is a beginner swimmer. This cap stayed on perfectly and kept her hair nice and dry throughout all of her swimming lessons. She is African American and had braids underneath.”
Here’s a 2-pack of tear-resistant silicone swim caps that are thick and comfortable — you know, as far as swim caps go. The cap has a 3D ergonomic design with ear pockets as well as an anti-slip design on the inside. The swim cap comes in three sizes for kids ages 2 to 12 with short or long hair. And it’s available in fun tie-dye-ish colors that might actually help you spot your kid in the pool.
One Reviewer Says: “Product is great! I bought these for my 10-year-old daughter for use in the hot tub. She was getting water in her ears and didn’t like her hair getting wet. These are easy to put on when you follow the directions. They keep her hair dry and ears covered. Just as an FYI the circumference of her head is just under 21” and they fit great. Fun colors and they hold up well, too!”
Remember when I said that Arena is a trusted name in swimcaps? Here’s another one to check out. This soft swim cap is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers who just want to keep their hair out of their faces, but have a hard time with other swim caps that pull and tug on the hair. The swim cap isn’t waterproof, so it’s not going to keep hair dry, but it’s a lot easier to put on and take off than tighter silicone swim caps. If sun protection is an important factor, this one is UPF 50+. You can grab it in multiple colors.
One Reviewer Says: “Great for swimming for my 3-year-old. Fits, flexible & comfortable. Hair gets wet but keeps it all in place.”
Swim Caps for Long Hair
If your child has long hair, this swim cap is another fantastic option. It’s durable, thick, and can hold all types of hair — even super curly hair or braided hair. It’s hypoallergenic, as all 100% silicone swim caps are, and according to reviews, it does a great job at actually keeping hair dry and water out of ears. It comes in three sizes and four color options.
One Reviewer Says: “My daughter is ecstatic about this cap and won't take it off. She loves bright fun color( I ordered it in pink). It sits nice and comfortable and kips her long hair dry, and we don't have to wash it after each swimming session as we did before. Silicon material is very kids friendly and it doesn't pull on her hair getting it on and off. I love how this cap covers her ears and have had no more problem with getting swimmers ear.”
Somehow this silicone swim cap fits kids with long hair AND grownups with small heads. It’s snug enough on kids to keep their hair mostly dry and the water out of their ears. It’s safe for kids who may have an allergic reaction to latex, as it’s made from 100% quality silicone. They’re great for kids (or again, adults) who are frequently in the pool.
One Reviewer Says: “These swim caps are legit!!! I bought two packs of two of these caps for my three girls and myself. My girls are 8, 6, and 4 and the caps fit snugly on each of their heads, including mine. How that is possible, I have no clue. I especially like the part of the cap that covers the ears...it helps keep the hairline dry too. We went swimming and my girls wore their caps and all of their hair stayed completely dry. Now we can go swimming more than just once a week!”
Sometimes, kids will fight you on wearing a swim cap. After all, many of them are unable to think ahead and worry about the ear infections that might follow. Ease them into the process with these fun character caps. If pretending to be a fish helps your child branch out with their swimwear options, then so be it. These are made from lightweight silicone that’ll be comfortable on your child’s head.
One Reviewer Says: “These were so cute. I love them for my little swimmers.”
Swim Caps for Braids
For kids with long thick hair, box braids, or dreadlocks, this Happy Mane Swim Cap will keep everything all in and protected from water. It’s super durable and made of comfortable silicone. You can get it in either pink or black.
One Reviewer Says: “Finally a swim cap that actually keeps the water out. My 6 year old has been swimming for some years now and nothing would keep the water out. Finally we found this brand and figured we would give it a try. The stretch is amazing for all different types of hair styles she wears under the cap such a braids beads and a big bun. She wears it right behind the ear, not over the ear and it’s comfortable to her and the quality of the cap is definitely durable. No water is getting in.”
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