How do you control a swim cap, and maybe your child, when putting one on your little swimmer? These valuable tips will help you master the art, along with some great advice on how to care for them too – the swim caps, we mean, not your kids!
Some of these tips relate only to silicone or latex caps, but if you’ve got an early learner wearing a lycra one, read on because it won’t be long before you want to change to a silicone (or latex) swim cap. Why?
Because as soon as your little fish starts to move through the water, that looser fitting lycra cap will begin to slip off – taking with it any goggles your child might be wearing. (This blog explains why silicone caps are the most popular with parents and are Aquabliss’ first choice.)
Some "dry" runs first
Complete some dress rehearsals at home before your poolside debut. Make a game of these rehearsals; add some time trials. Practising will also help stretch the cap a little bit too.
No sharp objects
No jagged or sharp fingernails. Use your fingertips, not your fingernails. Beware of jewellery that might damage the swim cap, such as rings or bracelets. Earrings, too, if your child wears their cap over their ears.
Wet hair first
Water smooths dry hair by lubricating it, providing a smoother surface for the cap to slip over.
There’ll be less friction and resistance between the cap and the hair – and hopefully less friction and resistance between you and your child!
For long hair
Tie up in a tight bun or ponytail and position the gathered hair, so it doesn’t interfere with goggle straps. That position might be higher or lower than usual, and practising at home will help you work out the best position.
Most goggles have a split strap so you can position one strap on either side of the bun or ponytail.
Avoid using elastic bands, especially with a silicone or latex cap. The materials can rub together, creating tension, which can be a bit uncomfortable.
We know it sounds obvious, but don’t use sharp pins to secure long hair.
The look and fit
Latex and silicone caps, when new, will have a crease. This crease goes from the middle centre of your child’s forehead, over the top of their head, to the middle of the top of their neck. Think about where a shark fin would sit on your child’s head.
Looser-fitting lycra/nylon caps can have different panel constructions, sometimes aligned with different patterns or colours, which should guide you regarding the front and back.
Position the front of the cap on/more towards the middle of your child’s forehead, not on the hairline. This will help prevent stray hairs from escaping at the hairline boundary and help the cap stay on when swimming and diving in the pool. Tuck away any stray hairs.
For latex and silicone caps, it’s best to smooth out any creases. Wipe out any coneheads! Press the cap down, and mould it onto the head to get rid of any air pockets that might allow the cap to move.
What about ears? Under, over, halfway? This is a personal preference and can depend on the size/style of the cap. But make sure your child can hear the teacher clearly!
How to put a swim cap on your child
The methods below work best because you do the more challenging part of stretching the cap over the head.
Child facing toward you
Watch the video to see how easy it is and quick too! Well done Jess!
Child facing away from you
And if you want to have some fun… try the challenge in this next clip (and keep an eye out on our social media pages for the bloopers!)
Removing the cap
Easy! Place your finger under the front seam, stretch the cap away from the scalp and lift.
Because latex caps are very tight fitting, there might be slight tugging at your child’s hair. If this is an issue, consider a silicone cap.
Maximise the pool life of your swim cap with proper care.
Don’t use hair pins to secure long hair; remember to take out any already in your child’s hair.
Do this as soon as possible to remove pool chemicals or salt water which, if left on the cap, will erode the material.
Don’t leave a silicone or latex cap in the sun or a hot car as the cap can become misshapen, the material can deteriorate, and even melt!
Some people dust silicone and latex caps, inside and out, with talcum powder, baby powder or corn starch to absorb residual moisture in which damaging bacteria can grow. This also helps keep the cap soft and prevents wrinkling and sticking. And can prevent the cap from pulling on hair when taking it on and off.
Not sure which type of cap is the best for your child? Our ultimate swim cap guide will help you choose which one is best for your swimmer.