If you’re new to the world of swim diapers, I’m sure you have some questions! They aren’t the same as regular diapers and are designed to serve a very specific purpose—to contain poop! Once you understand how they work, you’ll see that if you want to take your baby in the pool, swim diapers are indispensable!
The Reason for Swim Diapers
A lot of people ask if swim diapers can hold urine. The answer is no. There really is no way for a diaper to hold urine in the pool without creating a leakproof seal by doing something drastic like duct taping it around baby’s legs, and clearly nobody wants that.
On the other hand, poop in the pool will shut it down faster than an approaching lightning storm. And for a longer duration. The storm may pass in 15 minutes but sanitizing after a poop incident in the water will take at least a few hours. You don’t want to be the one responsible for that, so finding the best swim diapers is well worth the effort!
Forget About Anything Absorbent.
At first glance, absorbent swim diapers might seem like a solution, but in practice, they don’t capture urine because as soon as you get baby in the pool, the absorbent material fills up with water. Not only does that make the diaper ineffective for holding urine, but it also makes the diaper bulky, making it harder for the baby to move, and especially to swim. It also makes the diaper heavy and it will sag down, creating a gap where poop can easily escape.
Side Snaps Are a Must
Some swim diapers are designed like a diaper cover and are pulled on and off like little pants. If those things are wet and full of poop, changing is really not pleasant. The pull-up style is messy and can be especially difficult when baby is sandy or sweaty.
Some of the disposable pull-up diapers are made for the sides to rip apart at changing time, but we haven’t found them to be that easy to use. In fact most often disposable swim diapers aren’t tight enough to contain poop besides they create extra waste that our full landfills don’t need.
Hook and loop fasteners are used on a few types of swim diapers instead of snaps for side openings, but some people complain that the hook side snags on laundry. That material also gets much less efficient in water after it has been used for a little while, so snaps are a better option.
How to Get the Right Size and Shape
A swim diaper needs to fit snugly against baby’s legs, but littles all have different proportions, so the leg size and waist measurement will vary. A one-size-fits-all approach is not going to cut it. Or even small, medium and large sizes.
Adjustability is the key to a good fit. Adjustable swim diapers have snaps to allow you to size the openings around the waist and legs, and to shorten the overall diaper. Based on our extensive testing over several years, with quite a few different littles, we’ve found that the more customizable the fit is, the better the swim diaper will work—and the more comfortable it will be. We created a guide to using the snaps to get a great fit to make it easier to understand.
Some swim diapers just have one row of snaps on each side, which means no adjustability. Ours have three rows of snaps to adjust the waist and three rows across the bottom to adjust the height (no droopy drawers here!).
Look for Elastic That Is Both Comfortable and Snug
The elastic around the baby’s legs needs to be tight enough to seal in wet poop, so it will make a pink mark, but it shouldn’t dig into the skin or be uncomfortable for your little one. Look for elastic that is covered with soft fabric, but not sewn through. When the stitching goes through the elastic, it is rougher on baby’s delicate skin.
On the other hand, the elastic can’t be too soft and covered in fabric that bunches up loosely. While more comfortable, that style doesn’t actually seal well, leaving gaps.
I hope this information helps to clarify the need for swim diapers and how to recognize the best ones. I’m always happy to answer any questions, just leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.