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What to Take to the Pool With Your Toddler

Going to the pool with a toddler is a lot easier than it sounds. 

You have to nonstop chase after them, keep them safe from the sun and water, and, if your toddler is anything like mine, you have to police toy steeling, splashing, tantrums, and all of the unexpected expectations that come hand-in-hand with having a toddler.  

Having the right products can change the whole pool time dynamic. 

Last summer, we joined our town’s pool association, and I enjoyed endless days of find out which items are absolute must-haves when going to the pool with a toddler. 

I wanted to share these essential pool items and include a list of fun toys to pack for when you go to the pool with your toddler!

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What to Pack for a Whole Day at the Pool With Your Toddler


Beach bag

It is essential to have a beach bag to carry all of the important things on this list of toddler pool essentials.

I love a bag with a compartments, so I can neatly organize my pool essentials and know just where they are when I need them. Below are some of my favorite beach bags to take for a whole day at the pool.

If you are using a Diaper bag, you might be able to squeeze everything into that, but personally, I like the waterproof option of the following beach bags.

First aid kit

The first thing that I add to the bottom of my beach bag is a small first aid kit.

I put my first aid kit at the bottom of my bag. This provides me with a peace of mind that I have it, and also because hopefully I will not need to dig to the bottom to use it. Regardless, it’s there in case I do need it, because, well, accidents happen!

 Puddle Jumper

I’m sure most of you have heard of the Puddle Jumper. It is much better than a life jacket, by far and it is a must have for little swimmers.

I didn’t know about Puddle Jumpers until the beginning of the summer when my sister-in-law let me use her daughter’s puddle jumper. I was in disbelief.

As a first-time-mom (and one who obviously didn’t think about buying a floatation device before the beach, SMH) I was still expecting those plastic arm floaties that hurt to put on and hurt even worse to get off. Remember those?

After trying my niece’s puddle jumper on Lennox, I went shopping for one as soon as I could. There are many different kinds, but I highly recommend the Speedo Splash Jammer.

This one has extra support and safety with a vest that goes over your toddler’s shoulders as well as floaties on the arms. This avoids your child’s arms slipping out of the floaties. It is the best swim vest , in my opinion!

Lennox loves this puddle jumper and gets angry if I take it off of him. He loves having it on.

**Be careful though, it can cause overconfidence in your child’s swimming skills. I took it off of Lennox yesterday, and he tried to go deep into the water, not realizing he couldn’t actually swim.

There is no better towel than a hooded, poncho towel to cover your toddler up when he’s wet and cold from the pool. I also use it after the pool to put him in his car seat instead of bringing a change of clothes.

Our favorite!
Heysplash Toddler Swim Vest, Kids Swim Vest Water Wings Swim Arm Band with Shoulder Strap and Secure Buckle for 33-70 lbs, Blue Shark
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 Hooded Towel or beach towels

There is no better towel than a hooded, poncho towel to cover your toddler up when he’s wet and cold from the pool. I also use it after the pool to put him in his car seat instead of bringing a change of clothes

Bring more than one just in case your child is sensitive to used, damp towels.

Florica Hooded Bath Towels for Girls Kids Toddlers Children 2 to 6 Years Old Cotton Ultra Soft Absorbent Poncho Beach Towel for Pool Swim Pink Large Size 24"x 47" in Full-Length (Lovely Prin...
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Sunscreen is obvious, but please do not make my mistake of purchasing spray sunscreen. Purchase a good sunscreen, in liquid form.


I bought spray sunscreen for the beach, sprayed it into my hands as instructed, then applied to Lennox’s face and boy did we have a problem. He screamed bloody murder and had swollen puffy eyes all day.

Most spray sunscreens are not toddler friendly! If you do decided on spray sunscreen, make sure that it is baby/toddler friendly like this one here.

Another problem with spray sunscreen is coverage. How do you know if you are applying it all over or not? Make sure you are spraying the sunscreen all over and hitting important areas such as the face, ears, feet, and scalp.

Nowadays, I always go with Babyganics and Baby Bum Mineral Sunscreen Stick. Lennox has yet to get burnt and has a beautiful golden tan if I might say so myself. He also appreciates the stick a lot more than me trying to rub lotion on his face! I think next year I’ll aim for a DIY sunscreen. We shall see. 

For sensitive skin, I recommend Aveeno Positively Mineral 50 SPF sunscreen, formulated to be gentle and and non-irritating.

Below is a list of some of the best sunscreens to ensure burn-free pool days:

Read more: How to Treat Your Toddler’s Summer Eczema

Wet Dry Bag

It is a good idea to keep a wet dry bag on hand for all of the damn items after a fun day at the pool. Damp swim suits, towels, and clothes.

You could also use plastic bags, but we try to steer clear from using plastic when unnecessary. 

What’s nice about the wet dry bag is that it has two different compartments for wet clothes versus dry clothes and it also has a strap with button strap to hang on a stroller or beach cart.

ALVABABY 2pcs Cloth Diaper Wet Dry Bags Waterproof Reusable with Two Zippered Pockets Travel Beach Pool Daycare Soiled Baby Items Yoga Gym Bag for Swimsuits or Wet Clothes L2933
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Swim Diapers and or Disposable Swim Diapers

I love this Splash About Happy Nappy Swim Diaper available in several sizes. It claims to be the most reliable and advanced swim diaper in the world, plus is looks super comfortable! Babies and toddlers will feel glorious in this swim diaper.

Splash About Happy Nappy Little Ducks, 3-6 Months
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Bathing Suit & Sun Shirt

Target has the most adorable selection of toddler swimwear right now. The Cat and Jack brand is the cutest, and I love that the boys’ swimsuits are not ridiculously long like a lot of the swimsuits on the market.

The other day I went to buy a girl’s swimsuit for a one-year-old little girl I watch, and I kid you not, I couldn’t make up my mind between five. They were all too darn cute. Below are Lennox modeling his three Cat and Jack Suits!
Baby wetsuits
are also a good idea for fair-skinned toddlers and simply for extra protection.

Sun Hat 

Lennox’s thick hair is his sunhat, however, if your babes have light hair, or a small amount of hair, cover those heads up to avoid a bad burn!

Here is a list of some of the best sun hats for toddlers:

Water shoes

Water shoes are also an essential, especially at public pools where the concrete can stub your toddler’s wee toes.

We love these iplay water shoes. They are easy for young children to slip on, they dry quickly and they have great traction for slippery surfaces!

FEETCITY Baby Water Shoes Breathable Mesh Sneakers Beach Aqua Socks Boys Girls Shoes 12-18 Months Infant
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Swim Board

We are so very thankful to @americanlifetime @gladwellusa for gifting us these two awesome swim boards.

Lennox was a little hesitant to use it at first, but once he saw how daddy used it, it was a hit! It is extremely sturdy and lightweight and is the perfect prop for teaching your toddler how to swim. Mom and dad can also use it for exercise or physical therapy.


A cooler is essential. I learned this the hard wa

A cooler is essential. I learned this the hard way when one day all of my hard work preparing Lennox lunch and snacks got all mushy, and our beverages warm when it was time to eat. Invest in a small-sized cooler to make sure your food stays fresh, and your toddler stays hydrated!

What to pack in your cooler:

  • Snacks
  • Fruit
  • Sandwiches
  • Plenty of Water
  • Juice Boxes

Baby wipes

It’s a good idea to keep baby wipes in your pool bag to clean up those messy faces and behinds!

Toy Bag

Another mom essential. I used a pool bag at first, but once I realized all of the rest of my items were getting gross from all of Lennox’s toys, I caved and purchased a mesh bag solely for Lennox’s toys. It also helps drain the excess water and avoids molding.

F-color Mesh Beach Bag - Oversized Beach Tote 9 Pockets Pool Bag, White
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Read more: The Best Amazon Outdoor Toys To Keep Your Toddlers Busy This Summer

Toys, Toys & More Toys

Below are some of our favorite pool toys, and pool toys that have been popular amongst all of the kids at the pool. 

Green toys are great pool and bath toys. They have no BPA, they are made out of recycled plastic, made in the USA and are dishwasher safe!

We hope you enjoyed our list of pool essentials. Comment below and let us know if we missed any of your essentials on our list!!!!

Keep reading:

Having the right products can really change the whole pool dynamic. After two months of consistent pool trips, I am finally able to relax some since Lennox is more comfortable swimming, and now that I have invested in all the necessary toddler pool items. I wanted to share these essential items as well as fun toys to pack for when you go to the pool with your toddler! Essential Items for a Successful Pool Day with Your Toddler #toddlerpoolessentials #toddlerpooltoys #summeressentials #poolmusthaves

Mayra Alvarez

Sunday 26th of June 2022

I’d also add a tear free shampoo & an extra clean towel so that you can wash off the chlorine before getting in the car. And not have to worry about your toddler falling asleep without taking a shower. Some pools have showers with warm water to rinse. Use them to wash up before going home.


Thursday 15th of August 2019

Perfect compilation and just in time. We just started going to pool. Sunscreen stick looks interesting.

Laurin Ruprecht

Tuesday 27th of August 2019

The sunscreen stick definitely is more toddler-friendly, and avoids getting it in their eyes.

Ariana Sanchez

Thursday 15th of August 2019

My son's love the puddle jumpers ( I honestly had no idea that was the name) and the water boards. I'm honestly shocked about not hearing about a lot of these. I never know what to do with the wet items I end up with. I have damaged a few of my totes and have tried plastic bags but with 3 kids, sometimes those bags with clothes and stuff get left it the car... and well let's say I have to toss them once I remember again.

Jennifer Tanney

Thursday 8th of August 2019

I love to hear parents head to the pool over the summer. I teach swimming lessons and I am always happy to hear you love puddle jumper. Until your child is ready for swimming lessons there's nothing better.

Laurin Ruprecht

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

I absolutely agree. The puddle jumper is essential. Lennox asks me for the puddle jumper and it gives me some peace of mind.

Breanna / Messy Buns and Mom Jeans

Thursday 8th of August 2019

This summer was the first time I heard of a puddle jumper but I love it!

Laurin Ruprecht

Tuesday 13th of August 2019

Right? It is so helpful and assists toddlers in swimming skills.