In the spirit of telling you about products, we don’t think you need (adding to Heather‘s original series) so you can reduce your consumption and at the risk of upsetting those that find such items invaluable (like nursing bras), we wonder…do you really need swim diapers?
As the springtime weather warms, more and more readers are coming to Eco Child’s Play from swim diaper Google searches. Although Kristen did review reusable swim diapers in the past, this is one baby item that I have never purchased or used. My experiences may be different, as most of our early swim time occurred at the river or in private pools, but my cloth diapered babes never wore anything when they swam.
Does a swim diaper really prevent urine and fecal matter from entering pools? Kristen Chase wrote:
Truth be told, disposable swim diapers are more for easing our minds and less about containing bodily fluids and bowel movements. Basically, they just don’t contain all the chemicals that regular disposables do, therefore keeping them trim and less saggy when they hit water. But, they certainly don’t hold urine well. And, while they might hold a bowel movement for a good five minutes, you do not want your kid swimming around with a swim diaper full of poop.
Urine is relatively benign, and with the number of chemicals in a pool, I don’t worry about a little baby pee spoiling the water. Feces may be a different matter, but in my experience, my children never ever went poo in a pool or the river. On the beach, yes, but in the water, never. Even if they had, I doubt a swim diaper would have prevented little bits of contamination any better than the bathing suit that would hold the turds in just as well.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer the following:
The use of swim diapers and swim pants may give many parents and pool staff a false sense of security regarding fecal contamination.
Little scientific information exists on how well swim diapers and swim pants are able to keep feces or infection-causing germs from leaking into the pool. Even though swim diapers and swim pants may hold in some feces, they are not leak proof and can still contaminate the pool water. It is unlikely that swim diapers are able to keep diarrheal stools, the most serious water contaminant, from leaking into the pool. No manufacturers claim these products prevent leakage of diarrhea into pools.
Parents should not allow their children enter the water when they are ill with diarrhea, even if they are wearing swim diapers or swim pants. They risk contaminating the pool and making other children sick.
Swim diapers and swim pants are not a substitute for frequent diaper changing. It is recommended that parents change their children often and make frequent trips to the toilet while swimming.
Pool operators should try and make sure that parents:
- Understand the importance of NOT swimming when ill with diarrhea.https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/swimming/swimmers/swim-diapers-swim-pants.html
- Plan regular and frequent (approximately every 30 to 60 minutes) diaper changing or trips to the toilet. This will reduce the chance of fecal contamination and can also reduce the amount of urine in the pool that binds with disinfectant and creates irritants in the air (see Irritants (Chloramines) & Indoor Pool Air Quality).
I think swim diapers are an extra expense that doesn’t really serve many purposes. They get soggy and leaching occurs. My children learned quickly not to soil their bathing suit, even at a tender young age, or when they were swimming naked didn’t soil the water. There may be some rules necessitating swim diapers at baby swim classes, but for regular water play, I just never found the need.