Must-haves when taking a toddler to the pool

Living in Playa del Carmen it gets too hot to spend our days inside, especially with a toddler. Fortunately, in our complex, we have a pool that my toddler loves to go to most afternoons.
After many trips from the pool to the condo to get things we need, we have now become more organized with our pool bag of must-haves ready to go. Typically, doing most things with small children is a whole production, so I have put together our list of must-haves when taking a toddler to the pool.

Must-haves when taking a toddler to the pool
Must-haves when taking a toddler to the pool

Must-haves when taking a toddler to the pool


Sunscreen is an important step when heading to the pool. I always put ours on while we are getting ready, this way we don’t miss spots and it gives it time to set in.

Swimming diapers

Diapers designed for the pool are important as they don’t absorb a lot of water, which could weigh them down. They are not designed like regular diapers, so if you are not going in the pool right away, keep the regular diaper on to prevent any leaks.

Inflatable aids

There are lots of different inflatable options perfect for children of all sizes. If you feel more comfortable with a life jacket, I have come across some that are small enough for toddlers. My little one wears the arm floaties and has a floating canopy as well.

Snacks and water on hand

Often, I will take the little one out and sit in the shade for a snack and some water. I usually put a few ice cubes in her water before I head out so it’s not too warm. For snacks, I usually bring food that won’t melt like some cookies or crackers and a few pieces of fruit.

Hooded towels

Hooded towels are absorbent, take up little room in a bag, and your child can wear them rather than having to hold it up. You can find them in almost every store in the baby bath section or online.

Bathing suit

This one is obvious, but if changing your little one after you arrive, remember to pack their swimwear. When purchasing, you can find ones with extra sun protection, I usually look for the UPF+50 on the tags.

Water shoes

Water shoes are great for slippery areas, or at an outdoor pool in areas that are hot from the sun. It is also convenient to have them so you don’t have to put their sandals on and off or ruin them with the chlorine.

Hat and sunglasses

A hat and sunglasses are always a good idea when taking the kids outside. Ones with a larger brim or that cover the neck are great, and also sunglasses help with the glare from the sun on the water.

Extra clothes and towels

When little ones come out of the pool it may be a little chilly in the shade. If they are not ready to make their final exit from the pool, an extra towel or clothing is handy so they still have a dry one to use when they are finished.

Toys for the pool

When bringing toys to the pool for my toddler, I bring toys that float so she is not tempted to go underwater to retrieve them. Plastic beach toys, rubber duckies, boats, and dolls are usually a hit with the little ones in our complex.