Included in this article is our list of the best kids’ swim goggles. Before we disclose which goggles made our ‘best kids’ swim goggle’ list, we will explain Ashley Aquatic’s ‘No Goggle Policy’ for beginner swimmers and why we believe all swim instructors and parents should adopt the policy.
We suggest all swim instructors adopt this policy and we think parents will agree after reading this article. Before dismissing the policy as ‘overly strict,’ hear us out!
You may be thinking, Why would you include a ‘best of’ list if you don’t recommend goggles for kids?
That is a great question!
Well, we are not completely anti-goggles. Obviously, certain situations require goggles. Learning to swim, however, is not one of these situations. We will differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate times for a kid to wear swim goggles.
For example, once a child passes the ‘Goggle Test’ described below, they are ready to have goggles introduced into their swim routine. Buying your child one of the goggles on our list, at the end of a swim lesson session, after their instructor has given the go-ahead, is a great way to celebrate your child’s swimming accomplishments!
Going Goo Goo for Goggles
For some reason, I never asked my parents to buy me goggles. Twenty years ago, kids couldn’t care less about whether they had cool goggles or not. It was not that we did not know they were available, we just liked to swim without them.
This is certainly not the case today!
Wow, I sound like Grandpa telling his grandkid, “Well I used to walk 3 miles, uphill (both ways!) in a snowstorm just to go to school every day. Old, shaky voice, “Back in my day, we didn’t ask for goggles! We kept our eyes open, all day, no matter how much they burned, because we wanted to see who could stay underwater the longest!”
Oh boy, now I feel old. Anyway, when I started teaching swim lessons fifteen years ago, I saw a drastic change from when I was a kid. Many more children started wearing goggles. Parents started to encourage wearing goggles like they encouraged putting on sunscreen. Suddenly, if mum forgot little Betty’s goggles at home, Betty would refuse to go swimming.
Should Children Wear Goggles to Swim Lessons?
The Great Goggle Debate
Should kids be permitted to wear goggles at swim lessons?
Should we avoid introducing goggles until later on, after a child learns to open their eyes underwater without goggles?
The debate is real! Everyone thinks they have the answer, but most people have not spent 15 years observing the effects of introducing goggles too early in swim lessons.
I usually address the goggle issue before lessons have begun, preferably out of earshot of the child who is learning to swim. However, some clients do not retain all the information I relay to them on our short over-the-phone orientation.
Inevitably, on the first day of swim lessons, two or three parents inquire about goggles. For example, a parent will ask:
“Should I get Lil’ Johnny’s goggles out of the car for his lesson?”
“Do you have any extra goggles Lil’ Chantel can wear during her lesson?”
Sometimes, parents put goggles on their children before the lesson even starts, no questions asked.
(I understand this is an honest mistake, but PLEASE read the following before allowing your non-swimmer child to wear goggles to swim lessons. I also suggest you do not allow your child to get used to swimming with goggles when they swim with you until they meet the requirements discussed below.)
After I am asked one of the questions above, I shoot a semi-hostile (ultimately friendly:)) glance at the parent. I shake my head no and quickly try to distract the child.
When I am not quick enough to react, the child protests, “Yes mommy, I want my goggles!!”
At that point I must explain to the child, loud enough for his parent to hear, I do not allow goggles in my swim lessons. Most of the time the child pouts for a few seconds and, after great distraction with swim toys, forgets about the goggles. However, some more stubborn children scream and cry, making the lesson tougher than it needs to be.
Without fail, a parent approaches me after the lesson to explain that chlorine is very irritating for her child because he suffers from very sensitive eyes. I politely explain that chlorine is most likely not the culprit of a child’s red eyes after he has been swimming.
(Check out Can You Open Your Eyes Underwater for more information on eye irritation after swimming. You may be surprised when you learn what is actually causing eye irritation in the swimming pool.)
After acknowledging the parent’s concern about sensitive eyes, I politely explain the reasons I have a ‘No Goggle Policy.’ Interestingly, I have never had a parent push for his or her child to wear goggles after I explain the policy. Infact, parents quickly changed their tune. Below, in great detail, I will explain the policy for our readers.
‘No Goggle Policy’
- Goggles are NOT permitted for students in any learn to swim class. (Beginner Level)
- Goggles are NOT permitted until a child can pass the ‘Goggle Test.’
In other words, goggles are not permitted for beginner swimmers.
When a swimmer gains the skills necessary to begin lap swimming, goggles are introduced.
Exceptions to the ‘No Goggle Policy’
- Students registered for Recreational Swim Team or Masters’ Swim Team training classes are required to wear goggles.
- Exceptions are made for students with a medical reason requiring goggles are worn.
The Goggle Habit is Hard to Kick!
Are you beginning to think I am the strictest swim instructor ever? Maybe your inner child is pouting, mumbling, “you’re a meanie head” under your breath. I get it! I may feel the same way if I did not understand the following:
In my parent-tot classes, one of the first skills I teach is blowing bubbles. This is great for teaching breath control, but more importantly, the child starts to get comfortable submerging part of his head.
Once a child is walking, he can attend swim lessons without a parent. One of the most important skills learned in the first session of swim lessons is submersion or putting his head underwater. Simultaneously, the child is encouraged to open his eyes underwater. Mastery of these skills provides the foundation necessary for your child to continue improving his swim skills.
A good instructor will not allow goggles in primary level swim classes. If your child forms a habit of only submerging and opening his eyes underwater if he has his goggles on, you will have set a precedent that is almost impossible to reverse as your child progresses through swim lesson levels.
Swim goggles can become a crutch for your child, like sucking on his thumb or a pacifier or carrying around a baby blanket. We all know how difficult it can be to break a child of these habits. Until you speak with a knowledgeable swim instructor, do not introduce swim goggles.
When a child is permitted to wear goggles in swim lessons or at home with their parents, they will have a hard time letting go of the habit. The time it takes for an instructor to break a child of this habit may set a child back months in their swim lesson progression.
Reasons for ‘No Goggle Policy’
I started teaching swim lessons almost 16 years ago. At that time, the goggle issue barely came up. Over the years, as I worked with more children, I noticed some dangerous patterns of behavior in children who were permitted to wear goggles when they learned how to swim.
Here are the two most prevalent behaviors I witness from ‘goggle-trained’ children:
- Child refuses to submerge his head without goggles on
Risk: If a child will not submerge his head, he cannot learn a horizontal body position. All of these skills build upon each other. Without proper body positioning, the child will not be able to move on to learning to stroke technique.
2. Child refuses to open his eyes underwater without his goggles on
Risk: If the child does not open his eyes underwater, he will not master object retrieval. He will not be able to swim in a straight line or, as he advances in skill, perform proper turns when swimming laps.
GOGGLES=INCREASED RISK OF DROWNING
Lastly, and most importantly, allowing a child to wear goggles when learning to swim increases the risk of drowning. Yes, this may sound like a bold claim, but let me explain.
This is BY FAR the MOST IMPORTANT reason I do not allow goggles for beginner level swimming classes. If goggles are worn and a child does not learn to open their eyes underwater, they will not be able to open their eyes in an emergency situation.
Falling into a pool is extremely stressful for a beginning swimmer. Without being able to see, the stress level increases tenfold.
In beginner-level swimming classes, an instructor’s goal is to teach a child the necessary skills to swim to the steps or side of the pool. Once the child reaches the side of the pool, he can hang on the edge of the wall and yell for help. (An instructor gets bonus points if she can teach the child to reach the side and climb out himself.) If a child accidentally falls into the pool, these skills become crucial for survival.
An instructor’s goal is to prepare a child for an aquatic emergency. To do this, we must try to create similar conditions. During an emergency situation, a child will not be wearing swim goggles. In fact, the child will most likely be fully clothed, making it even harder to move in the water. If the child never learns to open their eyes underwater, the other skills they have learned to help move toward the side of the pool become useless. If the child does not open his eyes, he will have zero chance of saving himself.
I hear drowning reports on the news once or twice a week during the summer in Arizona. I don’t know about you, but my anger builds with each child we lose to such a senseless death. My advice is to get your kids in swim lessons and follow our advice on goggles.
We must do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in our power to stop child drownings.
Phew. Glad we got that out of the way. Now, please don’t get me wrong, we are not completely anti-goggles. We just believe there is a time and a place for kids’ swim goggles. Goggles should only be introduced after a child successfully completes the ‘goggle test,’ explained below:
Goggles should only be used when a child can complete each of the following without his goggles on:
- Swim the length of a pool unassisted, eyes in the water
- Submerge head while swimming all four strokes
- Open eyes underwater while swimming all four strokes
- Submerge the whole body, using proper breathing techniques when needed
- Bob and Rocket Ship Test- child submerges his whole body underwater, pushes up from pool floor to take a breath, then submerges again. Have the child complete 5 bobs.
- Dive Toy Retrieval test-put rings four feet apart from each other all the way down the length of the pool and have your child retrieve each ring and touch the other side of the pool.
Goggles are primarily for fitness swimmers, swim team or masters team members (kids or adults), Olympians, snorkelers, etc. Sometimes, when a child is spending hours in the pool, goggles are okay, but only if the child can complete the skills listed above.
Thinking back to my early swim days, I wish goggles had been more popular in the 90s. By the age of three, I was able to swim the length of the pool and having goggles would have prevented some very painful evenings spent with ‘chlorine eyes.‘
“My Child Won’t Act Like That!”
All children will get used to wearing goggles if they learn to swim with goggles. When the goggles are taken away, a child feels like they are being punished. Pouting and crying are the mildest of reactions. If you think your child is different, and will not give you a hard time, you are wrong.
I have seen children throw fits, screaming and punching parents and instructors when they are refused their goggles. In some extreme cases, children develop a phobia of getting their eyeballs wet. They become a Goggle Gargoyle! It is a scary sight. This can potentially set a child back for years. It is just not worth the risk.
Preventing Goggle Gargoyles
Prevention is simple.
When your child starts swimming lessons, DO NOT BRING GOGGLES with you. In fact, do not even say the word goggles around your child. If the child decides they do not want to do swim lessons, he may use not having goggles as an excuse not to get in the water. (Trust me, kids are brilliant, and I have heard every excuse in the book!)
DO NOT PUT GOGGLES ON YOUR CHILDREN until they complete the goggle test, explained above.
Speak to your child’s swim instructor before buying goggles.
Use the ring test and the bob test (discussed above) to determine your child’s progress.
When you and your child’s instructor are comfortable with your child’s progress, it is okay to slowly introduce the use of goggles.
We suggest only providing goggles to your child when he is swimming laps or when he will be playing in a pool for long periods of time. For example, if you are spending the weekend at a resort pool and your child will be using his new dive toys (You know, the awesome new set you ordered after reading our best of dive toy’s post :)) from sunrise to sunset, it is acceptable to provide goggles.
Before deciding which goggles to order, it is important to gain an understanding of how goggles work.
How do Swim Goggles Work?
Swim goggles work by creating a seal around the eyes to keep water out when swimming, snorkeling or deep water diving. The rubber around the lenses creates a suction against the rim of a swimmer’s eye sealing water out of the pockets between the lenses and eyeballs. If suction is not strong enough, water will enter the pockets between the eyeballs and lenses, distorting vision and forcing a swimmer to stop and dump out water repeatedly. This is so frustrating when trying to swim continuously.
Goggles are sold in all different colors, shapes, and sizes.
Snorkeling goggles have wide lenses for an enhanced view of ocean life. Goggles better suited for endurance lap swimming, sport a smaller, sleek lens design for a clear line of sight while swimming.
Other characteristics you may consider when deciding which googles to purchase are, tint level for glare prevention and/or
Different brands use different materials to fasten the goggles around a swimmer’s head. (head strap) It is important to find a material that works well with your or your child’s head, avoiding hair tangles or marks from straps that are way too tight.
“Mommy, I want the Elsa Goggles!”
To make sure you purchase goggles with the correct amount of seal, it is important to avoid budget-priced goggles. Goggles are not a swim product you want to skimp on. I have tried many cheaply priced goggles, both for myself and the kids in my swim lessons, and not a single pair have worked to keep water out of the eyes while swimming.
Unfortunately, many of the goggles marketed for children, with bright colors and cartoon characters affixed to them, are useless in the water.
When a child sees them in the store, they will beg and plead with you to get the Unicorn or Batman goggles. You will look at the price and cave.
When the child uses the goggles in the pool, they will do nothing to keep water away from their eyes and the goggles will end up tossed to the deck, more of a nuisance than useful. Eventually, these goggles will end up in storage in your garage.
The next time your child begs and pleads for the new fad swim goggles in the store, you will easily say, no way!
So, I will save you the headache. From the get-go, tell your child Miss Ashley says, “no Goggles until you can pass a swim test!”
Factors to Consider When Purchasing Kids’ Swim Goggles
Well-Made, Quality Product
Well-made, quality goggles will last for many summers to come! Despite hours baking in the sun and soaking in chlorine water, quality goggles will not warp in size and sun tints will not chip or fade from the lenses. The mechanism attaching the strap to the lenses must be designed for security, preventing the strap from disconnecting from the lenses while attempting to adjust the size. If the company manufacturing a pair of goggles has a bad reputation, its product will not make our list.
In order to make our ‘best of’ list, the goggle’s head strap must be made out of quality material. The material must be resistant to wear and tear from constant sun and chlorine exposure.
Durability is just as important as comfort. Qualifying goggles have a head strap that will not dig into the head nor pull hair when removing the goggles.
Head straps, on children’s goggles, must be easily adjustable for the constant growth spurts children are prone to! For adult goggles, head strap width should be thin and comfortable against the skin. Head strap should sit flat against the back of the head, promoting streamline while swimming laps or competing.
Adjustable Nose Bridge
No two swimmers have the same size nose. Therefore, it is very important to purchase goggles with an adjustable nose bridge. It is impossible to judge whether a nose bridge is sized correctly for your face until you try the goggles on. Therefore, we only recommend goggles with adjustable nose bridges for fitting ease. The nose bridge must also be comfortable. There is nothing worse than swimming in a pair of goggles that dig into your nose, leaving little pits in your skin long after you have taken them off.
Suction around the eyes is incredibly important. If a pair of goggles has poor suction, they will not seal correctly causing water to leak into your eyes.
Without a good seal, a swimmer is forced to constantly turn lenses inside out to dump out water puddles. Anyone who has had a cheap pair of goggles knows how frustrating this is! My Recreational Swim Team kids call this move the ‘goggle dump d’ dump’ because after each length swam, a swimmer stops to dump out the water, swims another length, stops to dump and so on.
Goggles with good suction will keep water away from the eyes for hours.
Sealant Tip: After placing goggles in a comfortable position over your eye sockets, press lenses to your eyes until you hear a sound that mimics flatulence. (excuse my French, but it is true!) The louder the flatulence the better the suction! The better the suction, the better the seal!
As discussed above, goggles marketed for children are usually very poorly made. It is important to avoid budget goggles if you are looking for a quality product. We have listed the best kids’ swim goggles on the market while keeping your wallet in mind! Each pair of goggles on our list are worth the listed price, if not more. Occasionally, goggles go on sale and we will periodically update our list when we become aware of a sale.
Goggles, like sunglasses, offer UV protection. Goggles with UV protection are tinted. It is important to find goggles that protect from at least 99% of UVA and 99% of UVB sun rays. This will be noted on the packaging.
Polarized goggles, which are also tinted, reduce glare from the sun, but provide no UV protection.
Anti-fog lenses prevent condensation from blurring your eyesight underwater. Without anti-fog technology, a swimmer is constantly stopping to wipe the fog off the inside of the goggle lenses.
Goggles with polycarbonate lenses are lightweight, impact-resistant, and scratch-resistant. Polycarbonate material has many aerospace applications. In fact, NASA uses the material in the construction of its astronauts’ helmet visors. Goggles with polycarbonate lenses are sure to look like new for years of swimming in the sun!
Prescription Kids’ Swim Goggles
Don’t worry! If your child wears glasses or contacts, there are options out there. One of our the goggles on our list, the Speedo Junior Vanquisher Optical Swim Goggle is a great choice.
Where to Buy:
The Scale of Fish
Dependent on performance during at-home testing, each pair of goggles is assigned a specific ranking for each of the six categories listed above.
Rankings are assigned using a scale of 1-5 fish, as outlined in the following table:
For a pair of goggles to make the list, it must receive a ranking of 3 or more fishes in all categories. Without further ado, here is our detailed list of the best kids’ swim goggles on the market. We hope you find your child the perfect pair of swimming goggles to be used for many years to come!
Best of Kids’ Swim Goggles
- These kids’ swim goggles from Resurge are fantastic for any level of swimmer, from beginner to competitor.
- The lenses are polycarbonate, which means they are shatterproof. They are mirrored to prevent glare, coated to provide UV protection, and use anti-fog technology to provide a crystal clear view while swimming!
- The lens shape allows a wide-angle view of the pool while swimming.
- Soft Silicone around the lenses allows a comfortable, tight seal around the eyes. The seal is just tight enough to keep water out while sitting comfortably on the face.
- The goggles’ strap is bungee material, which is more durable and easier to adjust than rubber or plastic.
- Bungee straps are the straps of choice for me, my students, and many professional and competitive swimmers. (Trust me, I have tried all the styles out there, and hands down, bungee straps are one of the best options for adults and children alike. Neoprene straps(see below) are also a top recommendation for children.
- Resurge has also made the strap easily adjustable. Children are able to apply their own goggles with ease, which is not a characteristic of most goggles on the market nowadays! You will thank me later!
- One of our favorite features of these goggles is the 3 interchangeable nose pieces that come included with each pair of goggles. This guarantees these goggles will fit kids with any size head.
- You can not ask for more in a pair of goggles. Resurge has truly covered all the bases with this model of kids’ swim goggles.
Note: These goggles are recommended for children ages 10 and up. If you are looking for goggles for younger children, check out our recommendations below.
Bonus: These goggles come with a protective case for easy transportation in your pool bag to the pool! Also, Resurge offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. If you are not satisfied for any reason, you get your money back! You really have nothing to lose with these goggles. 🙂
Where to Buy:
This product received a perfect score in all categories except the head strap category. As stated above, bungee head straps are the most comfortable for goggles. These goggles use silicone which is effective, but more likely to tangle in long hair and harder to put on and take off a child’s head.
- Vetoky’s Kids’ Swim Goggles include 3 interchangeable nose pieces to guarantee proper fit on your child’s head. The nose pieces are comfortable, especially once you find the correct size.
- Parents: You may be able to wear these goggles with the large nosepiece when your children are not using them!
- Vetoky uses a high-quality silicone material around the lenses for a comfortable fit around the eyes. This material is especially useful for keeping water out of the eyes!
- The lenses are anti-fog, giving the swimmer a clear and long-distance view underwater. They are also coated with a UV protectant, reducing glare while protecting from both UVA and UVB sun rays.
BONUS: 100% satisfaction guarantee. If you are not happy with your goggles or they break, contact the company and they will offer a replacement or a full refund.
Where to Buy:
Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Kids’ Swim Goggles only received 4 fish in the head strap and affordability categories.
The head strap is a silicone material, so unlike bungee materials, it frequently gets tangled in longer hair when removing the goggles.
These goggles lost points in the affordability category because they are higher priced than most other goggles on the list. However, since Speedo is such a well-known, quality brand they have earned the right to charge a bit more for their goggles.
- Speedo is one of the best aquatic equipment suppliers around. They are known for quality products that last many years. Speedo has not disappointed with these kids’ swim goggles.
- The anti-glare, anti-fog lenses make for a clear panoramic view in the water. The lenses are mirrored, reducing glare in sunny conditions. They also provide UV protection for swimming outdoors.
- These goggles offer 4 different nose piece size options for the perfect fit.
- If your child has sensitive skin or a latex allergy, these are the goggles for you! Completely latex-free.
- The Jr. Size is recommended for ages 6-14 years old.
- You will not be disappointed if you purchase these goggles for your child.
Where to Buy:
Another great feature of these goggles is the variety of color options available! Click on each of the following colors to be taken straight to their respective Amazon page.
Skywoo Swim Goggles Review
(Amazon Title: Skywoo Swimming Goggles Watertight Anti Fog UV Protection Triathlon Swim Goggles with Adjustable Strap Protection Case for Adult Men Women Youth Kids Child)
- Skywoo kids’ swim goggles sport polycarbonate lenses with 100% UVA and UVB protection, as well as anti-fog coating.
- The size of the lenses provides for a wide view both under and out of the water.
- The silicone seals around the lenses are flexible, adjusting to a swimmer’s face as he moves. The seals around the lense of these goggles are watertight but not tight enough to leave marks around a swimmer’s eyes when removed.
- The Skywoo design includes a double head strap, allowing goggles to stay in place no matter how active the child.
- We have seen many kids dive off the starting blocks, swim a few laps, and report how amazed they were that these goggles stayed fastened to their heads. It is nice to not worry about fixing your goggles, especially during swim practice or a meet.
- The double head strap, although made of silicone, is extra wide which prevents hair tangles.
- Another great feature is the “One-Click” system, making size adjustment simple for child and parent.
Bonus: Customer-friendly 1-year warranty is advertised. Although I have not had to deal with this company’s customer service department personally, they advertise swift response to any customer inquiries.
Where to Buy:
Speedo Skoogles received 5 fish in all categories except the head strap category. Only four fish were awarded in the head strap category because silicone tends to tangle in hair. However, if purchased with a head strap cover(see below), these goggles are wonderful.
- Another great buy from Speedo brand! These kids’ swim goggles are comfortable, with a double head strap for a secure fit.
- The head strap is also easily adjustable for easy fitting around your child’s head.
- The Skoogles Kids’ Swim Goggles have a no-leak seal that fits comfortably around the eyes.
- The lenses provide UV protection and are coated with anti-fog technology.
- The recommended ages for these goggles are 3-8 years old.
Where to Buy:
Our favorite feature of these goggles is the variety of color options available. These are our favorite colors:
COPOZZ Kids’ Swim Goggles Review
These kids’ swim goggles only received 4 fish in the head strap category because the strap gets tangled in long hair easily. However, 5 fish were awarded in ALL other categories!
- Goggles are not as well-known but they are gaining popularity.
- Goggles sit securely and comfortably on a child’s head.
- The Neoprene material is stretchy and will not get tangled in your child’s hair or leave marks around the eyes.
- Giggly Goggles come in a variety of different colors and designs.
- The material of these goggles makes them especially well-suited for sensory sensitive children.
- Recommended for children with autism, ADD or sensory disorders, as they fit snuggly and do not require adjustments after they are put on a child’s head.
- These goggles are made in 3 different sizes:
- Munchkin Size: 6 months to 2 years
- Junior Size: 3-10 years old
- Youth Size: teens to adults
Where to Buy:
- Cressi’s Goggle strap comfort cover is a great product!
- If you decide to purchase a pair of goggles with a silicone head strap, we recommend purchasing this strap cover to avoid hair tangling.
- Applying this strap cover to a child’s goggles makes for easy application and removal of goggles.
- You can not beat the comfort of a NeoPrene strap cover over a pair of silicone goggles. In fact, I have used these on my own goggles. Trust me, it is not just for kids!
- If you already own a pair of goggles, and the uncomfortable strap is the only reason you are looking to purchase a new pair, you may want to try one of these straps first.
Where to Buy:
We hope you have found the perfect pair of kids’ swim goggles after consulting our ‘best of’ list.
Remember, goggles are only appropriate for children in certain circumstances. Be sure to communicate with your child’s swim instructor before introducing goggles into your child’s swim routine.
If you have any further questions, let us know in the comments below. Also, if you have any other favorite brands of kids’ swim goggles, please share below so we can consider them for addition to our Best of Kids’ Swim Goggles list.