Keep your kid's bellies warm with a wet suit! Buy one here!
We were the talk of my grandparent's housing development. The "Alaskan girls" swimming in the outdoor pool when it was not even 70 degrees. People slowly drove by trying to act nonchalant and I think I saw the old woman across from the pool with binoculars trying to see if our lips were blue. My grandma was sure we would "catch our death," but we survived.
Alaskans are a hardy breed, but to enjoy the fun of a pool or lake you need to pick the handful of days a year or take other measures. After filling the baby pool with bucketfuls of hot water, I tried something new. I put my younger son into a Warm Belly Wetsuit.
The velcro top straps made entry easy and it even fit over his swim diaper. This size medium suit fit my almost three year old as well, so a suit can fit for quite a while. My son didn't seem to notice he was wearing a "diving suit" (as called by my older son). When I pulled him out of the suit (which is so much easier than getting off my own wetsuit), his chest was warm and his swim diaper wasn't filled with water as usual. His brother left the pool much earlier because he wanted a "warm bath".
The suit is made from 2 mm (1/8") nylon covered Neoprene. It is soft and malleable, rather than the slippery and rubbery feeling of some wetsuits. It actually feels almost soft to the skin. My son repeatedly sat in dirt and leaves, but the suit rinsed clean under the shower head. Here is what the company says about cleaning the suit-
Most of the time a good rinse and drip dry is adequate to get the pool chemicals off the nylon. If the wetsuit is soiled, use either, a gentle cycle, with mild soaps and no fast spinning, or you can wash by hand, kneading itlike bread dough in a sink with mild soap.
There are many sizes and colors available. I choose red as it is easily seen and could be worn happily by boys and girls. The smallest sizes are shaped like a onsesie with a flap along the bottom (where the crotch snaps are on a onesie). This idea must have been created by a diaper changing parent!
The wetsuits cost $32 plus $7 for shipping and handling. This is one time that the price doesn't seem too high. It will last long after the swim diapers have been handed down to other kiddos! For a slight extra cost, they can make a suit to your own specifications measurements. Just follow the measuring instructions on their site and you get a custom suit!
The cut and design of the Warm Belly Wetsuit is simple and well thought out. There are no arms as they impede movement and make entry really difficult. They are not skin tight to help getting children into the suit and also allow them to last a bit longer. I really can't think of a way to improve this product.
I could only hope for them to expand their products. I wonder if they could make booties to keep my water obsessed children's feet warm. It also might be nice to have just a top with sleeves for my friends that raft with their children. Perhaps leg warmers with velcro that could wrap around and keep little legs warm. Or, just keep the wonderful design and keep the bellies of kids warm the world over!
I give Warm Belly Wetsuits my Alaskan Mom Approval for finding a way to let Alaskan children experience joys of water, making a durable product and keeping costs low!
(if you want to try this out, just let me know!!)