If there’s one thing that unites Ian Thorpe, Ariarne Titmus. Kaylee McKeown, and Mack Horton, it’s that they all started by wearing floaties and learning to doggy paddle. So why not set your child up for future Gold by investing in the vital accessories that’ll keep them in the pool safer and happier longer.
In this guide, we’re discussing some of the best swim accessories to help your future Olympian get ready for Brisbane 2032 (or wherever the Olympics ends up).
$6.99 (discounts for 4+ and 10+ pairs)
One of the biggest issues facing young swimmers in particular is the dreaded ear infection. For kids with grommets or sensitive ears, this issue is even more acute. If your child has an ear infection, you will hear about it.
The best solution particularly for younger swimmers is to use a pair of ear plugs to seal the entrance to the ear canal, preventing water from lodging in the ear and allowing your child to swim happier for longer. For young swimmers, a set of ear plugs can also help with equalising and practicing tumbleturns, crucial for any little Olympians!
The Putty Buddies are a gold-medal standard swimming plug. They’re made of a soft silicone that fills the outer ear, creating a consistent and safe water-tight seal. They comfortably stop water from entering the ear, while still allowing your child to remain aware in the pool.
Coming in seven different colours, the Putty Buddies lets your child choose their favourite colour — you can even mix and match sets for a two-tone look. As an added bonus, they’re made of a floating silicone, no more plugs littering the bottom of the pool or choking the cleaner.
But don’t just take our word for it, check the float test here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHLphZNaCzs
The Ear Band-It Ultra is a super comfortable neoprene headband, designed to keep your child’s plugs in place in all conditions — no matter how many laps their coach has them doing.
It comes in three different sizes, catering for all head shapes, and is made of a thinner, stronger material when compared to competitors for long term wear. Far from being kids only, the Ear Band-It Ultra is the most popular swimming headbands for children, teens, and adults — with a suitable size and colour available for everyone.
Particularly for squad swimmers, it’s likely they’ll wear a pair of reusable plugs rather than a disposable silicone. Pairing them with a swimming headband ensures consistency of fit. The Ultra model has a ‘Grip-Tek’ lining, similar to the non-slip coating you see around the edge of a pool. It grips comfortably yet securely to the head, minimising drag or slips.
Like the Putty Buddies, it comes in seven different colours. Suitable for showing club pride or just accessorising.
If your child is swimming often, or you’re looking for a multi-use plug that also covers school, music lessons, and the Modern Pentathlon, the Alpine Pluggies is a high performing multi-use plug that’ll keep your ears clear and comfy for baths and swims.
The major advantage of the Alpine brand is their ‘thermo-shape’ material. The tips are made of a hypoallergenic (no silicone!) and flexible material that softly conforms to the shape of your child’s ear. It allows for consistent and effective fits for all children aged 3 - 12 years.
Alpine’s Acoustic Filters also come highly praised: they block noise and water, while still preserving your child’s capacity to remain aware of their surroundings. No chance they’ll miss the bell at the end of the 1500m medley with these in.
The Pluggies is designed to be a multi-use plug that’s great for swimming, bathing, or for any other activities where ears are to be protected. For sensitive children, they block excessive sounds from entering the ear, helping prevent meltdowns and allow them to spend more time playing in noisy playgrounds with their friends.
For adults, Alpine offer a Premium SwimSafe plug for the same price. It has the same thermo-shape tips with specially designed aquatic filters for keeping your ears dry.
With the Tokyo Olympics, Surfing finally makes its debut as an official event — get a head start on preparing the next generation of Aussie medallists with the SurfEars ear plugs.
Optimised for ocean conditions, the SurfEars 3.0 are a fully customisable ear plug ‘system’. Each set includes individual components in different sizes, allowing you to mix and match to find the best size to fit your ears.
By contrast, the SurfEars Junior 2.0 is the best option for young grommets aged 4-12. They have a single size that fits most children in this range, and provides the same features and construction as the adult range.
Designed to let sound in while blocking out water, both sets use an ‘acoustic mesh’. This mesh blocks water, cold air, and the kinds of dirt, sand, and waterborne bacteria that cause surfer’s ear, while still allowing your child to remain safe and aware (and hear the applause from you on the shore!)
A thick and durable leash keeps them connected and secure to your body even in heavy swell, with a durable carry case for storage between sessions.