Everything You Need to Know but Were Afraid to Ask
Have you ever been at a pool and seen someone’s toddler go in the water in a regular diaper? The diaper swells alarmingly, absorbing pool water like a dehydrated sponge. If left on, eventually it will begin to leak the sodium polyacrylate crystals (the polymer that absorbs liquid in the diaper) that have expanded beyond the diaper’s capacity. It is NOT pretty… or comfortable for the child. Knowing that a baby or toddler cannot go into a swimming pool without some kind of diaper, diaper manufacturers introduced the swim diaper.
What is a Swim Diaper?
A swim diaper is a pull-on pant, either reusable or disposable, that is designed to not expand in water. Several popular disposable diaper brands make versions of these with patterns on them. They may be worn under or instead of a bathing suit.
Do Swim Diapers Work?
Because the swim diapers are not as absorbent as regular diapers, do not expect them to contain urine. While they might absorb some, leakage is probable. Swim diapers should not be a substitute for frequent changing or potty breaks. What these diapers do is keep fecal matter from ending up in the water. Basically, they are designed to keep the poo out of the pool.
If your toddler has very soft stools or diarrhea, a swim diaper will NOT contain the stool. This is why it is recommended that children with diarrhea refrain from swimming until they are no longer ill.
How to Choose
Proper fit is critical in choosing a swim diaper for your toddler. For disposables, check the sizing on the package and choose one that is appropriate for your child. Most of the disposable products have tear-away sides because they are not reusable and adhesive won’t stick in water. The leak guards around the legs should fit snugly. This is the main barrier to contain fecal matter.
Reusable swim diapers are generally made of stretchy cloth with snap or velcro sides for easy use. There are various brands available. Again, fit is the most important factor, and some brands provide waist and thigh measurements to assist in finding the right one. If you choose cloth swim diapers, you may want to have more than one so that you have something for your toddler to wear if you need to clean one that has an “accident” in it.
Whether you choose disposable or reusable, a swim diaper will definitely keep your swimming toddler more comfortable… and your pool cleaner.