Using swim diapers may seem unnecessary. After all, who needs extra stuff to buy when you have plenty of regular diapers already?  The truth is, swim diapers are a necessary purchase for anyone whose infant or child will be spending time in a pool or ocean. Not only do they have cute patterns and designs with your kids’ favorite characters – they also prevent a very real health risk to you and other swimmers. In the past, we’ve discussed the dangers of floaties. In this blog post, we’ll help you to navigate the world of swim diapers so you can be prepared as the summer season kicks off.

A Preventative Health Measure

Swim diapers aren’t just a marketing ploy to get you to spend more money. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even recommends that all public swimming locations require their use. This is because they help to delay the spread of bacteria that a regular diaper just can’t prevent.  If your child has an “accident” in the water, a swim diaper will contain the urine or fecal matter long enough for you to change it. This prevents additional germs from contaminating the pool and compromising the safety of your fellow swimmers.

With all of the above in mind, a swim diaper is still not a substitute for frequent diaper changes or bathroom breaks. This is because, while swim diapers delay the exposure of bacteria into the water, it does not prevent it altogether.  Therefore, it is important to stay vigilant and check your child’s diaper every 30-60 minutes.

When Can I Bring My Baby in the Pool?

Using Swim Diapers and Swim Pants

Swim diapers are nothing to shy away from. They’re as simple to use as regular diapers. You’ll just need to decide which one is right for you – disposable or reusable.  Disposable diapers attach at the side of the hip, making them easier to remove in case of an accident. They can be thrown away after they are soiled.  Alternately, reusable diapers can be washed at home and used again. Make sure to check with your public pool, as some have specific diaper regulations.

Once a diaper has been soiled, you will need to change it right away, so make sure you always have some extras on hand. Change your child’s diaper away from the pool area. This reduces the chance for contamination and allows a place for you to wash your hands. When you’re done, throw out a disposable diaper or wash a reusable one in your washing machine at home.

Can I Use a Regular Diaper Instead?

If your baby needs a regular diaper, they also need a swim diaper.  Whereas regular diapers sag when they’re wet, swim diapers are made to withstand water for minimal absorption. This prevents your child from being weighed down by the extra weight of a fully swollen diaper.


Even with a newly potty-trained child, you should still err on the side of using one.  Pools are a new experience for a child. The distraction of something unusual, along with being submerged in the water, may prevent them from recognizing the urge to go to the bathroom, making them less likely to control their bladder and bowel. Making sure your child’s behind is completely covered will help to keep the water’s cleanliness in tact and help to assure the safety of other swimmers. That’s especially true if you’re using a public swimming pool.