Babies love splish splashing around, so don’t let the possibility of a poop-splosion keep you from a fun day at the lake, beach, or public pool. Enter a little miracle called Swim Diapers (also called swim pants). They’re uniquely designed for your water baby and, come summertime, no diaper bag is complete without them!
Lest you think you can send your baby into the pool with a regular ‘ol daytime diaper, think again. Daytime diapers are made to absorb as much liquid as possible, so you can imagine what happens when they get submerged in water – yep, your baby’s diaper turns into a soggy bottom that doesn’t stand a chance of containing poop. So, yeah, water-resistant diapers are pretty necessary. We’ve got the scoop on swim diapers – the design, mechanics, purpose, practicality, and why not all swim diapers are created equal!
Here are 9 important things you need to know about disposable swim diapers.
#1 They Prioritize Poop.
Swim diapers exist for one very important purpose: to keep poop out of the water. So, while a regular booty wrapper absorbs liquid and contains solids, swim diapers are only designed to catch #2. Yep, that means their potty doesn’t absorb into the diaper liner and will pass into the water. Is that gross? Kinda. But the germs from poop ending up in the pool is 1,000% grosser (and pose a far greater health risk to anyone else in the water).
#2 Most Public Pools Require Them.
Since no public pool wants to deal with a floater ending up in their pool (see #9), most have pretty strict guidelines for diapered children – be sure you know the rules ahead of time. Many public pools will require that your baby and toddler wear a disposable swim diaper along with a swimsuit or swim shorts on top as an extra layer of defense.
#3 It Helps to Have a System.
Before diving in, have a plan for how you’ll monitor your child’s swim diaper schedule.
- Step 1: Arrive at your destination and slip a swim diaper onto your baby. Easy enough, right? Don’t make the mistake of putting them in their swim diaper before leaving the house because they’ll arrive at the pool ALLLL wet (Remember what we learned above? Swim diapers don’t absorb potty). You’ll find different styles out there, like our pull-up style Swim Dipes that are quick and simple to get on and off – especially for those wiggly babies who won’t sit still for a diaper change.
- Step 2: For added security, top them off with another layer, like a swim bottom or swim outfit. Or you can totally let your baby run around in just their swim diaper – ours have the cutest design btw!
- Step 3: Peek inside the swim diaper every 30-60 minutes to see if it needs changed. For potty training toddlers, it’s a good idea to take them on a bathroom break at that rate anyway.
- Step 4: If the diaper’s soiled, change into a new swim diaper stat. The removal process is different for different brands. Ours is a quick tear-away style: Tear from the leg cuff and up, NOT from the waist cuff down. (That’s because the waistband is stronger than the leg cuff, so it's easier to start at the bottom and work your way up.) Using both hands, give the bottom of the leg cuff a good tug and it’ll split right up the middle for fast removal.)
- Step 5: Repeat!
#4 Some Babies Should NOT Wear Swim Diapers.
Swim diapers aren’t intended for newborn babies because, thanks to their liquid-only diet, their stool is loose. Since swim diapers don’t absorb anything watery, wait until their poop is more solid (around the time they start eating big kid food) before putting them in a swim diaper and heading to a community pool. And it goes without saying, but if your kiddo is dealing with diarrhea, the swim diaper won’t stand a chance, so better stay home from the pool altogether!
#5 You Need The Right Fit.
Swim diapers are supposed to be nice and snug to keep all that poo contained. They should cover your baby’s booty, but know that they’ll be tighter than your average daytime diaper. For a proper fit, check out the size guidelines on the package. And if you’re still in doubt, buy two sizes.
#6 You’ve Gotta Check and Change Them Often.
Swim diapers really do need to be checked and changed often, especially post-pool time when the fun in the sun is over. If wet material rubs up against your baby’s skin for too long, they could get red and rashy.
#7 There Is A Right Way To Remove Them.
Most pull-up style swim diapers feature quick tear sides so you don’t have to mess with bringing it down your baby’s legs when it’s time to make a diaper switcheroo. Here’s how to do it right: Using both hands, simply tear at the leg cuff where the material has some flexibility. It’ll “rip” easily and you’ll have that swim diaper off in a jiffy. Don’t start by tearing it at the waist because it’ll be much more of a struggle! While the waistline material is incredibly comfortable and stretchy, it’s also durable and strong (since it needs to create a tighter fit in that area).
#8 Special Features Matter!
Summertime should be easy breezy–and so should your swim diapers! Like anything, quality matters, so look for ones that’ll keep your baby comfortable, cute, and most importantly doody-leak-free!
Take our Swim Dipes, for example:
- They have a doubled-up leg cuff for extra leak prevention power.
- Their plant-derived, high-integrity bonded fiber core is ultra compact (yet still so soft!), meaning your beach babe stays balloon-booty free.
- Even though swim diapers aren’t used everyday, we know you still care about your baby’s exposure to things like latex, phthalates, and parabens. So you won’t find any of that in our hypoallergenic Swim Dipes.
#9 Swim Diapers Can Help Avoid A Public Poo(l) Emergency.
We saved the poopiest point for last. Swim diapers are oh so important when it comes to a day at the public swimming hole because they’re the best protection against baby and toddler turds ending up in the water (the CDC calls this a “fecal incident”). If the pool becomes contaminated, the fun’s over – for hours, and sometimes days. Why? Because poop contains germs and bacteria that can be harmful to human health (we’re talking E Coli, Hepatitis A, Giardia and Crypto parasite – eeek!), so pool owners have to act fast to keep everyone safe and healthy. Typically this means the pool and splash pads are completely closed for business while staff members proceed with a super detailed disinfection process. First they have to fish out the feces, disinfect the item that came in contact with it, then amp up the chlorine levels, and ensure the filtration system is doing its job. Swimmers are only allowed back in once the pH and chlorine levels have returned to normal operating range. This procedure is even more complex and time-intensive if the doo doo was diarrhea.
Have you tried swim diapers for your water baby? We’d love to answer any questions you may have. Ask away in the comments below.