A Guide to Kids' Swimsuit Sizes

How to Find the Right Size Swimwear for Your Kids

Portrait of a group of children running on the beach
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When shopping for swimsuits for your children, it's important to get the right fit. Armed with a tape measure and a little research, you can find the perfect swimsuit for your kids -- no matter their size. Keep these tips and suggestions in mind when shopping for kids' swimsuits.

The Right Fit

Though swimsuits need to fit more snug than other clothing, you don't want them to be too tight. A swimsuit that is too tight can cause irritation and chafing.
Swimwear should not be too loose either. Baggy suits may fall down and also can interfere with swimming. The fabric should lay flat and smooth against the body. Waistbands and leg holes shouldn't bind. The child's rear end should be completely covered. And for girls who are already developing, the breasts shouldn't be spilling out of the top.

When trying on swimwear, have your child reach high above his/her head, twist to the side, bend over and sit down. Look at the swimsuit from all angles. It shouldn't ride up, slip down or bind, no matter what position your child is in.

Buy One Size Up

Kids' swimsuits generally run small. You'll find that for most swimwear brands, you should buy a size up from your child's normal clothing size for the best fit.

Sizes by Height

Sometimes it's easier to find the right swimsuit size for your child by height. Below are a list of sizes, beginning with toddlers, and the corresponding height range.
Of course, this is just a general guideline as sizes vary by brand and style.
  • 2T - 33-35"
  • 3T - 35-37"
  • 4T - 38-40"
  • 5 - 42"
  • 6 - 45"
  • 7 - 49"
  • 8 - 52"
  • 10 - 55"
  • 12 - 58"
  • 14 - 60"

Online Size Charts

SwimOutlet.com offers a list of links to swimsuit brand size charts for both adults and kids. Knabe's features a competitive swimwear size chart as well.
You may find both of these lists very helpful, particularly if buying swimsuits online.

Swimsuits for Boys

When it comes to swimwear, it's often easier to find the right size for boys than it is for girls since boys usually just wear trunks. When shopping for swim trunks, pick a pair with a drawstring to avoid any embarrassment with the suit falling down. For young boys who actually want to swim, the inseam should be just a few inches long. Though long, baggy board shorts are trendy, they aren't conducive to swimming.

Your Child's Proportions

Of course, height or weight isn't the end all when it comes to sizing. You must take your child's proportions into account. Two girls of the same height can have torso lengths that varies by several inches. If you can't find a one-piece suit that fits properly but still want plenty of coverage, consider a tankini. This two-piece swimsuit style features a tank top partnered with a bikini or boy shorts bottom.

Adjustable Straps for Girls

Swimsuit straps shouldn't fall off the shoulders nor should they be so tight that they dig into the skin. Ideally, straps should be just tight enough that you can slip your thumb between the strap and the shoulder. Fortunately, you can find a wide assortment of kids' swimsuits that have adjustable straps, or straps that tie at the shoulder or behind the neck halter style.

Kids grow like weeds.

If your child needs a new swimsuit this season, keep these tips in mind to help find the perfect fit.