Are Bikinis Appropriate for Toddlers?

Would you let your toddler wear a bikini? Is a bikini an appropriate toddler bathing suit? Or should they wear one piece bathing suits? The Moms At Odds debate toddler bikinis
Would you let your toddler wear a bikini? Is a bikini an appropriate toddler bathing suit? Or should they wear one piece bathing suits? The Moms At Odds debate toddler bikinisWould you let your toddler wear a bikini? Is a bikini an appropriate toddler bathing suit? Or should they wear one piece bathing suits? The Moms At Odds debate toddler bikinis

Debating bikinis on toddlers can get ugly.

Some find it cute, some find it offensive.  And it can lead to deeper conversations about feminism and sexuality.  

Of course, we have some [differing] opinions on the subject… we are The Moms At Odds after all!  

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Jo says, “Keep those toddlers bikini-free!”

For my toddler-aged daughter, bikinis are an absolute NO.  We can reassess the situation when she’s a little older, but for now we’ll stick to more “kid-friendly” bathing suits.

I just want to add that by no means am I saying that there’s anything wrong with someone else’s child wearing a bikini.  It’s just not a decision I would make for my own family.


Rash Guard Suits Provide UV Protection

Admittedly I’m kind of a freak about ultraviolet (UV) protection.

Too much sun (and therefore UV) exposure can cause skin damage, sometimes leading to cancer.  In fact, UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer.  Not to mention sunburn.  

In my house, we start lessons on sun protection early.  Starting with hats and sunglasses, even on the babies!

UV protection for babies. Bathing Suits, Hats.

FYI – He’s wearing Julbo Baby Sunglasses, which is by far the best brand for infant sunglasses!

When my kids are older, we continue the trend of UV protection by giving them bathing suits that cover as much skin as possible.  And, of course, continue with the hats and sunglasses.

RuffleButts Toddler Bathing Suits, Should They Wear Bikinis?

We LOVE the RuffleButts swimsuits.  That’s the suit Lily is rocking in the picture above.

RuffleButts is a great company – founded by a woman who was inspired after watching an inspirational episode of Oprah.  Their goal is to provide high-quality and affordable products that inspire joy.  

And I personally can attest to that, they have adorable products that are very reasonably priced.  But my favorite thing?  All of their bathing suits are UPF 50+.

I always get bathing suits that cover the shoulders and at least part of their arms.  The rest of the exposed skin is lathered in Thinkbaby Sunscreen. (Yes, even though my kids aren’t technically “babies” anymore).

Most sunscreens have tons of chemicals in them that can be dangerous.  Unfortunately, many of the more “natural” sunscreens aren’t effective.  Thankfully we have Thinkbaby, which is a perfect mix of both worlds.

Thinkbaby doesn’t have any of the harmful chemicals (it’s been #1 rated by the Environmental Working Group for years), is easy to apply (ie. non-greasy), and works GREAT. 

Anyway, back to bathing suits.  Teaching the importance of UV protection is important for all kids, starting at the young ages.  And my UV rules (t-shirt, hat, etc.) apply to both my daughter and son:

RuffleButts Toddler Bathing Suits, Should They Wear Bikinis?

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We Keep Our Toddlers Modest

It’s so hard for me to explain this point.  On one hand, I want to teach my daughter to love her body… but the other part of me realizes that there’s a difference between how the world should work and how it actually does.

Look, I’ll just say it.  Something about a 2-year-old wearing a bikini is weird to me.  I’m sorry!

I know bikinis don’t have to be sexual, but it’s something I associate with being sexy.  

Most toddlers are too young to ask for a bikini.  They wear whatever bathing suit mom picks out for them.

If my daughter asked for a bikini, that would be another story altogether.  However, I don’t feel comfortable displaying her body without her consent. I find it inappropriate.   

This is her time to be a kid, she has plenty of bikini-wearing years ahead of her.  


Debating Toddlers Wearing Bikinis - is it appropriate?

Rachel says, “Let them wear bikinis!”

I just do not see the big deal about toddlers in bikinis.

I mean, I’ve seen many toddlers on beaches in nothing more than a diaper.

What is it about a bikini that people find inappropriate? The amount of skin? The “adultness” of the suit?

It’s just a bathing suit. I don’t get it.

Two-piece bathing suits are easier. Who really wants to wrestle a squirmy toddler out of a wet one piece for a diaper change? And once they’re potty training, it’s even more important to be able to get that bottom off quickly.


Debating Toddlers Wearing Bikinis - is it appropriate?

I want to be body positive

I know they’re young, but I think it’s important to teach body positivity from the beginning.

Why should we tell girls that there is anything wrong or shameful about their bodies?

Toddler boys and girls look pretty much the same with diapers on, so why would the girl’s body be inappropriate?

If a toddler girl is running around in just swim trunks, you would have no clue. No one would care if they assumed she was a little boy.

Come on people, a bikini shows a stomach and back… those are not even private parts, why on earth is that inappropriate?

I don’t see any reasons to start planting ideas of insecurity or body shame so young. Most girls deal with self-consciousness most of their lives. I’d rather try to combat this by instilling confidence starting young.


Debating Toddlers Wearing Bikinis - is it appropriate?

Toddlers in bikinis are adorable, not sexual

By saying things like “bikinis are inappropriate” or “too sexual” for toddlers we’re reinforcing those ideas.

There is nothing sexual about a toddler in a bikini.

The bikini doesn’t sexualize a child. It’s the adults who do that. Let’s not blame the garment for a people problem.

Are there perverts and creeps out there? Absolutely. Do I really think pedophiles only look for children in bikinis? Seems unlikely.

If they’re attracted to children, does the adult bathing suit matter that much? If someone finds a toddler sexy, they have a problem, the clothes are irrelevant.

Unfortunately, there are sickos who will “sexualize” children regardless of what they are wearing. As parents, we can either never leave the house or do our best to be vigilant.

I have to admit that I don’t really think this should even be a thing.

How do you feel about toddlers wearing bikinis?  Leave us a comment below and let us know who you agree with! 

Share this article on Facebook to find out what your friends think of the subject. 

And be sure to check out some of our other debates:

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About Author

Jo & Rachel

Jo and Rachel first had the idea for 'The Moms At Odds' in 2016 when our babies were turning 2 and we realized that we were very different parents.

As a mom, Rachel immediately felt this strong connection to her son and instantly decided she wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. Though Jo obviously loved her son as well, she counted the days until she could go back to work and interact with other adults.

They both struggled over getting their babies to sleep and while Jo believed in sleep training, Rachel looked for alternatives like dream feeding and no cry methods. As time passed and their children grew older the differences started to really add up – pacifier use, drinking during breastfeeding, organic foods, screen time, diaper brands, and on and on.

During this day and age, it’s so easy to look at our parenting differences as a bad thing. After all, we’ve all seen jokes and articles about “Mommy Wars” over one subject or another. Instead, we choose to embrace our differences and show you that in many areas there is no wrong answer. What works for one family may not work for another, and that’s perfectly fine. We can still all get along and raise perfectly healthy, beautiful children.


  1. Heather says:

    I believe that it is dependent on the suit. My 8 year old step daughter wears a tankini and my infant has an adorable reusable swim diaper and a tee shirt style bathing suit top. I buy the same type of shirt for my 8 year old biological son.
    My step daughter’s mother used to have a very tiny animal print bikini for her when she was 5. The suit never stayed in place and once she jumped in the water and lost the suit. To me this style is inappropriate. We need to teach all children about appropriate clothing, respect for our bodies and such. I teach my children that we take care of our bodies by putting on sunscreen, good hygiene, being active, eating healthfully and I believe appropriate dress falls in line with that as well.

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