Baby swim bag essentials: what to pack

We asked parents what they wouldn’t leave home for the pool without.

4 min read 100%

Baby swim bag essentials: what to pack

We asked parents what they wouldn’t leave home for the pool without.

4 min read 100%

What to take for your baby’s next swim

What do babies really need for swimming? And what can you bring along that will reduce the stress factor by 1000%? We asked the real experts (parents like you) to tell us all the stuff you need, and none of the stuff you don’t.

Don’t forget to pack a baby wetsuit

Sounds obvious, but don’t forget to bring swimming clothes for your baby to wear. In a warm pool you can opt for a mini swimsuit or costume, but if you prefer an extra layer, go for a baby wetsuit or rash guard made of neoprene that traps a layer of warm water next to your baby’s skin. A firm favourite with parents was the Swim Cosy from Swim Elite, here.

Pack some spare towels

Hooded towels are great for wrapping and keeping warm as soon as you get out and a spare towel is always a good idea for your baby to lie on, if you have room to pack one. Our parents were recommending the Cuddledry Hands-free towel.

Swim nappies are essential

Huggies® Little Swimmers® are perfect for pool visits until your child is potty trained. They’re specially designed to be used in water, with guard leaks that protect against accidents and, most importantly, don’t swell in water (like normal nappies do). They help keep your baby safe through not taking on water, as well as enabling maximum movement. And don’t forget the regular nappies, Huggies® Baby Wipes and cream for afterwards.

An inflatable ring

If you can bring a swimming aid, do. It’s useful to give your arms a break and your baby a taste of independence in the water. There are loads to choose from – floats, armbands, inflatable swim seats, swim rings and water slings. Did you know that babies automatically open their eyes under water? So, goggles aren’t necessary – one less thing to remember. A popular choice was this baby swim float from JoJo Maman Bebe.

Extra clothes, just in case

Always bring another set of clothes in case things get wet, including some layers for keeping warm post-swim. If your baby is tiny, a hat is a good idea as babies lose heat through their heads.

Tons of snacks

Your baby will be ravenous as soon as you get out, so bring drinks and snacks they can hold themselves like bananas and rice cakes to keep them occupied and happy while you’re drying them/yourself. If your baby isn’t on solids yet, they’ll be ready for a feed immediately so sound out the facilities before you go in and get ready for a quick change.

A bath toy

Pick a favourite (small) bath toy to pack to offer some familiarity, reassurance and fun in the pool. It’s a good distraction for babies that might not feel so relaxed.

Coins for lockers

Before you leave home check that you have enough change for two lockers in-case they are unrealistically small for baby bags and coats.

Your own stuff!

Don’t forget yourself. Packed or wearing your swimming costume? Easy to remove clothes? Got your own towel and some spare pants? And breathe. You’re good to go.

Some of your best changing room hacks

Take something cosy to lie them on and something to look at, like a sensory toy or bath book, while you get yourself changed.
 Hannah, mum to Rufus and Grayson


Buy a dry bag (they’re mostly used with reusable nappies). Then you can pack all your wet kit into it and stick it in your main bag so nothing will get wet.
Jamie, dad to Tilly


Snacks to keep them distracted when getting them dressed after. And more towels! Alma always screamed as soon as we were out of the pool. Two towels for the baby, one to lay them on and one to get them dry. I always ended up using mine on Alma then I’d have to get myself dry with a wet towel. Not ideal!
Lisa, mum to Alma


Buy builders overshoes – they cost about £5 online and it means you’ll never have to take your shoes and socks off too soon and dry them again at the end. You just put them over your shoes and store them at the top of your bag and they dry really quickly. Also, get a net-based bag. It’ll dry quicker and it’s easier to pack in the car.
Max, dad to Brock and Lev


Take a travel changing mat that rolls away and a car seat (if you aren’t bringing a pram) to sit your baby in after they’re changed and dry so that you can get changed comfortably afterwards, too.
Jo, mum to Gene
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