Swim Diapers

Read about baby swimsuits...

While many adults simply view the swim diaper as a convenience for parents who want to avoid subjecting their child to a soggy, wet diaper while at the swimming pool, swim diapers are so much more. The advent of the swim diaper has improved water health and safety at recreational swim facilities and improves the swim experience for swimmers of all ages and sizes.

A True Necessity

If your child is still in diapers and you're planning on taking her swimming, you're going to want to pick up diapers before you hit the pool. Most public swimming pools require babies and toddlers to be outfitted in this type of diaper if they're going to be in the water.

You shouldn't just purchase swim diapers because you "have to," though - you should understand why purchasing them is so important:

  • These diapers are specially made to stand up to total immersion in water without bloating the way standard diapers do. Water passes through the material, so you don't have to deal with a soggy mess.
  • A well fitted pool diaper will prevent baby's stool from leaking into the water and will trap over 95 percent of the accompanying E. coli bacteria from ever reaching the water. This ensures higher water quality for all swimmers and prevents the spreading of bacterial diseases.
  • By preventing stool from entering the water, you're also preventing swimming pool staff from shutting down the swim facility for required clean up. State laws mandate that when solid waste enters the water, swimming facilities must clean the waste before swimmers can re-enter the pool. If the stool happens to be liquid, chances are the pool must remain closed until the total body of water has had a chance to undergo a full filtration circulation - this can take between six and 18 hours, depending on the circulation system a facility has. That's a long time for a facility to remain closed simply because a baby wasn't wearing the right type of diaper.


Pool proof diapers are available in disposable and reusable styles. Always check with your local swimming pool to see if they have specific requirements regarding swim diapers before you make your purchase.


Disposable pool diapers can be extremely convenient to use. Brands such as Huggies' Lil Swimmers are widely available during swim season, and you can usually purchase them wherever standard disposable diapers are sold.

Disposables generally come in pull-on styles, but with tear-away side seams that allow for easy removal and clean up.

Disposable diapers are not as protective against leaks as reusable diapers are, and many public swimming pools require you to use rubber swim pants over the top of disposable diapers to help prevent leaks. These rubber swim pants look like a diaper made of rubber with elastic around the waist and leg holes. Make sure you know the policy of your swimming pool before you arrive on site unprepared.


A reusable swim diaper is composed of two layers. The outer layer is made from durable nylon, and is manufactured to resist chlorine damage. The inner layer is typically made from flannel or brushed cotton, so it's always soft against baby's bottom.

If you're concerned about adding more trash to our landfills, or just worried about finding disposables out of season, then reusable diapers are probably your best option. Be sure to keep several pairs on hand so you can make a quick change whenever baby needs it.

Swim Diapers for Older Children and Adults

Babies aren't they only ones who can benefit from wearing pool diapers. Many older children and adults who are either disabled or experience incontinence problems find that diapers give them the freedom to get back in the water.

Typically, diapers for adults use velcro fasteners at the side for easy on and off access. This also allows the diapers to be adjusted a bit for a more comfortable fit. However, pull-on styles are available for those who prefer them.

Pool diapers can be worn discreetly under your normal one piece, or trunks so you can swim without worry.

Washing Instructions

Of course, if you opt for the disposable pool diapers, just throw them away as needed, and use a fresh one next time.

On the other hand, a reusable swim diaper is meant to be laundered after each use. These products all come with washing directions from the manufacturer, but generally you should:

  1. Rinse any stool out of the diaper immediately.
  2. Turn the diaper liner side out, being sure to re-attach any velcro fasteners to protect them from damage.
  3. Machine or hand wash as directed in hot soapy water.
  4. Never use bleach, since it can be harsh on the elastic.
  5. Machine or line dry as directed.

Purchasing Swim Diapers

You can purchase swim diapers from most major swim retailers and online swim shops. Most retailers offer cute designs for girls and boys. You always want to double-check the sizing information before you make your purchase to ensure that the diaper you buy will fit your child. This is especially true when choosing reusable diapers - you can expect to spend between $8.00 and $20.00 per diaper, so you want to make sure you buy the right size.

Understanding the Importance

Once you understand the importance of swim diapers, consider passing along the information to other parents and adults. Keeping public swimming facilities safe for all swimmers is an important role that everyone must help take part in. If you think you or your child may be coming down with an illness, it's best to stay out of the water altogether, but sometimes sickness comes on quickly and without warning. Wearing a swim diaper can help prevent illness from spreading in the event of an unexpected accident.

Swim Diapers