Nozone Swimwear has a full range of cover-all swimsuits for kids. (photo from Nozone)
As summer begins to show its face in Vancouver, it’s time to replenish those supplies that keep us safe and entertained throughout the season. Here’s my list of five top “must haves” – or “would be really nice to haves” – for the sunny weather.
Skin-safe swimwear: Made on Vancouver Island, Nozone Swimwear has a full range of cover-all swimsuits for kids that look great, are comfortable to wear and protect that sun-sensitive skin from ultraviolet rays. Best of all, they last forever. My daughter’s, a hand-me-down that goes back at least eight years, is showing no signs of wear and tear and remains a go-to favorite. From $30, they’re available at nozoneclothing.com or from select Vancouver retailers, including Crocodile (2156 West 4th Ave.), Duck Feet (1447 Marine Dr., West Vancouver) and Splash Swim and Cruise (2950 West 4th Ave.).
Sunscreen sans grease: There’s nothing like that greasy feeling you get when you’ve smeared sunscreen all over your skin. Kiss My Face is a non-greasy alternative in an easy-spray container. It’s gluten free, paraben free, phthalate free and contains no artificial fragrance, which means you won’t smell like an overripe coconut once it’s on your skin. An eight-ounce spray bottle of SPF 30 sun spray lotion will set you back $16.49 online, at kissmyface.com.
No-leak goggles: If you love swimming but hate the effect of chlorine or saltwater on the naked eye, you’ll want to invest in a pair of AquaSphere goggles. The company offers a wide range of designs to fit the faces of women, men and kids. Most offer 180-degree visibility, easy and quick strap adjustments and a leak-resistant Silicone skirt that does not leave you with raccoon-like eyes after your swim. At $25-$30, they’re a little pricier than generic brands, but the extra price is worth it because the goggles last longer, are supremely comfortable on the eyes and – get this! – keep the water out of your eyes. There’s more information at aquasphereswim.com or stores specializing in outdoor recreation.
Ear protection: There’s nothing like the pit-of-the-stomach feeling you get when your kid announces painful ears. Swimmer’s ear claims many victims among children each summer and can be an extremely painful affliction, particularly when it occurs over the weekend when, inevitably, doctors’ offices are closed and hospital ER rooms are packed. If your kids are remotely prone to swimmer’s ear, consider investing in AquaEars: soft silicone, latex-free earplugs that are moldable to any size ear and appropriate for kids age three and up. They’re available in designs that include Hello Kitty, SpongeBob, Disney Cars and LittleMermaid. At cirrushealthcare.com, it’s $5.99 for a three-pair pack.
Homemade popsicles: In my house, I can’t keep up with the demand for popsicles, since every time it’s sunny, someone gleefully declares, “Popsicle weather!” and heads to the freezer. The Zoku Quick Pop Maker is a great alternative to store-bought popsicles. The device has a compact base that gets stored in the freezer when it’s not being used. When you want to use it, extract it from the freezer, put it on the countertop and wait seven minutes while it freezes ice pops quickly and without electricity. The kit includes six durable, reusable, plastic popsicle sticks, as well as drop guards. A perfect solution for healthy, homemade ice cream, yogurt or fruit-based popsicles. On zokuhome.com, you can order a maker for $49.95.
Lauren Kramer, an award-winning writer and editor, lives in Richmond, B.C. To read her work online, visit laurenkramer.net.