October 2016

Are Goggles Essential When Swimming?

When we think about the things that are needed for a swim, one of the things that come to our minds would be the goggles. To some people, forgetting to bring their goggles is as good as forgetting to bring their swimwear. However, are goggles truly that important?

For Survival’s Sake
Do we need our goggles to be able to swim? The answer is no.
Swimming is a sport that allows one to keep fit while keeping the damage to your joints to a minimum. However, it is also a skill that can potentially keep you alive, especially since Singapore is surrounded by water. From time to time, you may notice swimming instructors getting his/her learners to open their eyes underwater without the protection of goggles. This is meant to help learners understand that goggles are merely a tool to make swimming more comfortable for them and that it is by no means a necessity.

If you think that this is unnecessary, think again. You will be astonished as to how often I have seen swimmers transform into non-swimmers the moment their goggles are taken away from them. Learning to swim, with or without goggles, is critical; for survival’s sake.

Eye Protection
That said, if we take into account that most pools are chlorinated, it is indeed wise for a swimmer to wear goggles for protection. By choosing not to wear your goggles, your eyes will likely get irritated by the chlorine, resulting in redness and some discomfort.

This is especially true for people who enjoy swimming with contact lenses. In any case, you should avoid wearing contact lenses while swimming, find out why from our earlier post.

A swimmer is truly water-safe only when they are armed with the knowledge that they can swim without their goggles on. Once that is achieved, we will have to take steps to preserve our gift of sight.

How to Buy Wetsuit for Children

Your child’s attention span will become shorter if he/she is feeling cold in class, and if this occurs frequently, your child may become reluctant to go for class. As a parent, you can play your part by getting your child the right swimwear.

Types of Wetsuits

There are 2 types of wetsuits that are commonly seen here in Singapore – the Full Suit, and the Shortie.

The Full Suit will cover the entire arms and legs of the wearer, and can offer more protection against the cold as compared to a Shortie, which ends above the elbows and knees. However, for the purposes of swimming lessons, a Full Suit is not recommended as it can restrict the movement of your child. The Shortie can keep your child warm, as long as the next 2 sections are taken into consideration.

Thickness of Wetsuits

Wetsuits come in a range of thickness, commonly between 1.5mm to 6mm. There are 2 things to note about the thickness of the wetsuit:

  1. The thicker it is, the better it is at keeping your child warm
  2. The thicker the wetsuit, the less flexible it becomes

The thickness to get for your child would depend on your child’s ability to withstand the cold. Generally, you would not want to get anything more than 3mm for a child as it can restrict the range of movements of your child.


A wetsuit is completely useless against the cold if the fit is not right. That is because the water will get into the suit from the various openings. As such, when selecting a wetsuit, get one that is a snug fit for your child.

Of course, children tend to outgrow the wetsuit fairly quickly. There are 2 things you can choose to do here – buy a cheap wetsuit that fits snugly, and change it frequently OR get a wetsuit that is slightly loose. Do note that wetsuits tend to stretch with use, so do not get one that is too loose initially.

Keep the points above in mind when getting your child the right wetsuit, and he/she will stay nice and warm while learning to swim!