COLD COLD…. brrrr…..
Parents have observed that their children often shiver and end their swimming lessons with blue lips. If swimming is an exercise, why is it that their children would still feel cold?
One reason is that learn to swim programmes do not create enough physical activity for young children to generate enough body heat. Imagine being in a larger class size and having to wait for your turn every single swimming lesson. The children would be sitting at the edge, exposed and not moving enough. Thus even after a supposed one hour swimming lesson, these children still feel cold and have not done much. The situation is aggravated when there is a breeze (gentle moving air). Moving air accelerates evaporation which means taking the heat away from the body.
Another reason is that young children have much less tolerance than adults of keeping warm in a wet environment. Children can feel the cold a lot more than adults.
When children need to focus on keeping warm, they cannot concentrate on learning how to swim. Many people purchase rash guards, thinking the long sleeves can protect from the cold. However, the main function of rash guards is sun protection. It actually does NOT retain heat. Instead, it cools the body down even further, as moisture is evaporated from the fabric and thus taking away heat. It has the same principle as perspiring.
How to Keep Warm?
Children can keep warm by putting on thermal wetsuits. They are made out of neoprene and are designed to keep your child warmer in the water. Wetsuits retain heat by trapping a layer of water between the skin and suit. A suitable thickness will be 3mm. Wetsuits need to fit SNUGLY in order to be effective. The wetsuit keeps our body warm by trapping water within. Our body temperature warms up the trapped water. Therefore, if the wetsuit is loosely fitted, water keeps displacing and there is no chance for the water to be warmed up. Hence, the child will still feel cold. Therefore, if you want to get a wetsuit, make sure get one that covers the shoulders with no fancy lycra or polyester fabric covering the shoulders while the rest is in neoprene.
Cons of wearing a wetsuit
Some kids are sensitive to neoprene and will get rashes on their skin especially in between arms, behind the knees, and in the groin area. Basically, any area covered with a wetsuit is susceptible to skin irritation.
Wetsuits give an artificial sense of buoyancy i.e. children may become better floaters. Neoprene is infused with tiny air pockets that make it buoyant and also a good insulator for heat. What it means in swimming is that the true sensation of floating in water is mitigated.
What’s the ideal?
For boys, they should put on shorts or trunks only. For girls, they should don on a swimsuit that has spaghetti stripes. There is no point wearing cute swimsuits and not offering any real benefit.
The key is to bare shoulders so that water simply runs off. Wearing anything that covers the shoulders inadvertently will make the body feel cold in part due to evaporation. As all of us know, evaporation takes away heat so that we feel cool.
Share this helpful tip with someone today!