The Best Swim Diapers for the Pool and Beach

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
May 12, 2015
girl standing on pool

You glance around. Everyone in the pool is looking in your direction with a look of horror on their faces. Then you see it. Slowly rising to the surface like a submarine. A big brown poopy. Yep, your baby pooped and it has escaped.

The above scenario can easily be avoided with the use of swim diapers. Simply slide a swim diaper over your baby’s bottom and any poop is locked in its own leak proof jail

Let’s explore the wonderful world of swim diapers. By the time you have finished reading this guide you will be a swim diaper expert. Pretty cool, huh?

A word of warning before I jump into the guide.

It is a common misconception that swim diapers will contain pee. The purpose of a swim diaper is to hold in solid poop without retaining too much liquid. Pee will almost certainly still come out.

The same can be said of diarrhea. While the majority of poop will still be trapped, if it is super runny then you run the risk of it escaping.

Different types of swim diapers

Swim diapers are available in two different varieties, disposable and reusable. Lets take a closer look at the two as well as the pros and cons of each.

Disposable swim diapers

Disposable swim diapers are a use once solution for taking your baby swimming. While they may look similar to a regular diaper, they will not swell when exposed to water.

The leg holes on disposable swim diapers are cuffed. This design allows your baby to move his legs around in comfort while still holding in solid waste.

The main advantage of disposable swim diapers is that once you change your diaper, you can simply throw it in the bin. No carrying it around in your diaper bag.

While cheaper disposable swim diapers may seem like a great deal, be sure to read the reviews. Cheaper disposable diapers are generally poor quality and often sag or worse; fall apart. If you stick to the brand names (like Huggies or Pampers) you should be fine.

Disposable swim diapers are designed to trap poop not absorb it. As a result, disposable swim diapers are not suitable for every day use.

PROS

  • Cost effective if you only go swimming a few times over summer
  • Low maintenance; simply throw in the trash

CONS

  • The cost can add up if you frequently take your baby swimming
  • Can only be used once
  • Looks like a diaper
Child 1476313 1920
Image Source: Pixabay

Reusable swim diapers

Also known as cloth swim diapers, reusable swim diapers are made from a fabric and resemble a regular bathing suit.

If you are eco-conscious then you will love the fact that you simply wash the swim diaper and reuse it for the next water adventure. Less diapers ending up in landfill is only a good thing.

The fabric of reusable swim diapers is much softer than that of the disposable kind. If your baby easily rashes then a reusable swim diaper is a better option.

Remember; if you are going to stick with reusable swim diapers then you will have to buy a new pair every swim season. Your baby will grow so fast that what fit last summer will long be outgrown by the next.

PROS

  • Reusable
  • Cheaper if you and your baby swim a lot
  • Look like regular swimmers
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Softer against baby’s skin

CONS

  • More work – you have to wash them
  • Can be difficult to choose the right size

And the winner is….

disposable swim diapers vs reusable swim diapers

Ultimately whether you choose to buy reusable or disposable swim diapers will depend on your lifestyle. Consider the two following scenarios:

  • Casual swimmer - Only plan on going to the beach or pool once or twice this summer? Stick to disposables. Not only will they be cheaper, but clean up is as simple as throwing the diaper in the trash
  • Swimoholic - Do you find yourself at the beach or pool every second day during summer? Reusable swim diapers are your best bet. They will save you money in the long run and are not as offensive to look at since they look like a regular bathing suit.

Now that you know about the different types of swim diapers its time to take a closer look at the features.

Swim diaper features

Lets take a look at the different features to look out for when buying a swim diaper for your baby.

Choosing the right size

Swim diapers fit tighter than regular diapers. A tight fit helps contain your baby’s poop and prevent it from escaping into the water.

Sizing is a very careful balancing act. Too tight and your baby will be uncomfortable. A sure sign that a swim diaper is too tight is if it leaves big red marks baby’s thighs and waist. On the flipside, a swim diaper that is too loose wont hold anything inside.

different sized swim diapers in a row

The material

Your excited little toddler is going to be up and down the pool or beach all day. If the swim diaper is coarse or scratchy then you know what comes next. That’s right. Rash time. You don’t want to be dealing with a rash covered baby every time you go to the beach.

While the majority of swim diapers will come in a tight weaved polyester, some cheaper brands use a looser weave of nylon. If your baby has extremely sensitive skin then it is best to stick to polyester.

How is the swim diaper secured??

There are three different ways that you can fix a swim diaper to your baby. Each style has it’s own pros and cons.

Snaps

Simply wrap the swim diaper around your baby and secure it by using the snaps on the side. Snaps make it easy for you to remove a poop filled swim diaper from your baby.

The downside of snaps is that if you get sand in them then they can be somewhat of a chore to clip together.

Pull Up

Pull up swim diapers go on like an ordinary pair of underwear. Your baby steps into the swim diaper and then you pull it up to his waist. A tight elastic waste keeps the diaper on while your baby runs around.

baby swim diaper
Image Source: Flickr

While pulling up swim diapers is one of the easiest things in the world, pulling them down is a different matter. Not only do you have to remove the swim diaper from your wiggling baby but you also have to balance any poop in the diaper while doing so.

Velcro

Simply wrap the swim diaper around your baby and secure it into place with Velcro. Velcro gives you the most control over how tight you want the swim diaper to fit to your baby.

Now the downside is that any exposed Velcro can easily scratch against your baby’s delicate skin. Over the course of a day this rubbing can lead to rashes.

How many swim diapers will you need?

The answer to this question all depends on how many times a day you change your baby. You will need enough swim diapers to cover each diaper change during your visit to the pool or beach. You don’t want your day cut short because you have run out of diapers!

How easy is the swim diaper to clean?

swim diapers drying out on a clothes line

Reusable swim diapers can be washed in two different ways; either by hand or by throwing them through a wash cycle.

Pay attention to the cleaning instructions on the swim diapers tags. Some specify hand wash only and a trip through the washing machine could destroy them. I personally prefer swim diapers that can handle a gentle wash cycle as it makes cleaning a much simper task.

The best swim diapers available

Below I will take a closer look at some of the best swim diapers on the market.

Most popular swim diaper

Reusable swim diapers

Style: Many different colors and patterns availableBrand: i play

  • 100% Polyester
  • Side snaps
  • Layered protection
  • Machine washable

With over 20 years experience manufacturing swim diapers, i play has managed to build up an extensive collection of swim suits for baby’s.

Unlike other swim diapers, the model from i play offers three layers of protection to help prevent diaper leaks.

If you are looking for fun styles and patterns then there is no shortage of options. Just check out some of the girls swim diapers on offer below.

girls swim diapers in different patterns and colors

i Play swim diapers offer the greatest selection of colors and designs of all the different brands of swim diapers. If you are a fashionista at heart then you will absolutely love the amount of styles you can play with.

Don’t worry. Boys don’t miss out. There are lots of different swim diapers for boys too! Check out just a few of the options available below.

boys swim diapers in different colors and patterns

It is worth mentioning that the sizing does run a little on the small side.

  • Small 10–18 lbs
  • Medium 18–22 lbs
  • Large 22–25 lbs
  • X-Large 25–30 lbs

if you are looking for a fun and fashionable snap on swim diaper then you need not look any further.

Best one size swim diaper

ALVABABY Swim Diapers

Styles: 4 different styles
Brand: Alva

  • 100% Nylon outer
  • Polyester mesh inner
  • One size fits all
  • Cute design

If you have any experience with all-in-one cloth diapers then you will know what to expect with a one size swim diaper.

A series of snaps located on the front of the swim diaper allows you to shape the diaper to fit your baby’s body. The waist fits 8.66"-15.7" stretching up to a whopping 23.6” before it will be outgrown. To put it simply, it will fit your baby up to roughly 25 pounds.

Your baby will grow fast and having a swim diaper that grows with him may end up saving you money in the long run.

Best Velcro swim diaper

Reusable goldfish swim diaper

Styles: Over 15 different styles
Brand: Kushies

  • 100% Nylon outer
  • Terrycloth Inner
  • Adjustable ties
  • Machine washable

If you are looking for an inexpensive reusable swim diaper then Kushies has the answer for you. Don’t be put off by the cheap price, the Kushies swim diaper is surprisingly well made.

Not only does the swim diaper secure by Velcro but also by ties. The result is a snug and comfortable fit. I also like how the ties help cover up exposed Velcro so that it wont cause chafing to your baby.

The sizing is as follows:

  • Small 6–14 lbs
  • Medium 14–25 lbs
  • Large 25–40 lbs
  • X-Large 35–50 lbs

If your child is on the boarder of two sizes then choose the larger one. The tie/Velcro combination makes them somewhat comfortable and you will guarantee that the swim diaper will fit for the remainder of the swim season.

This budget swim diaper holds in poop at an economical price. Definitely a great starting point for those of you looking to experiment with swim diapers.

Best disposable swim diapers

If you have decided that disposable swim diapers are the way to go then you simply cant go past Huggies or Pampers Swim Diapers. Both are very similar diapers and are incredibly effective in the water.

Extra swim diaper advice

Below I will outline a few tips that I wish someone told me before I used swim diapers for the first time.

Wearing a swim diaper

Don’t make the same mistake many parents make the first time they put a swim diaper on their baby

Don’t put a swim diaper on your child too soon!

Since swim diapers do not hold urine you should only put them on your child just before he enters the water. Too early and you will end up with pee everywhere. You don’t want pee ending up all over your car seat on the way to the pool!

baby swimming under water
Image Source: Pixabay

Storing used swim diapers

If you are going to spend all day by the water then bring a plastic bag along with you to put wet or dirty diapers in. This allows you to simply seal the soggy diaper away without getting poop everywhere; ready for you to deal with it later.

A plastic bag is an absolute must if you are going to a beach or lake as you may not be able to source one nearby.

Swim diapers and public pools

If you plan on taking your baby to a public pool then you had better be aware of their rules regarding swim diapers. While some pools don’t allow children that aren’t potty trained to swim at all; others require you to wear plastic pants over the top of a swim diaper diaper.

Featured Image Source: Unsplash

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