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Understanding Reusable Swim Diapers: How Do They Work?

My kids love splashing in the pool. On the other hand, I’m always worried about the unpredictable explosions that can occur when toddlers are placed in the water.

Swim diapers confuse new parents; unsurprisingly, many wonder how they work and what brands are best to use.

How Do Swim Diapers Work?

The key to truly understanding how swim diapers work is understanding the key difference between them and regular diapers.

Take a regular diaper and toss it in a bucket of water. It will swell beyond any recognizable size, because of the absorbent layer. Your child will be dragging a heavy thing on his bum and it will work like a weight in the water.

Swim diapers aren’t designed to absorb water. They are designed only to contain solids, AKA just the poop. In case you’re wondering this also means the pee will go through them.

As a result, remember that whether it’s a reusable or single-use one, doesn’t hold any pee (for your knowledge, all these kids pee in the pool).

Parental hack: if you want to dress your child beforehand and then drive to the pool put a regular diaper on top of the swimsuit and swim diaper, so when you get to the pool or beach all you have to do is to remove the top layer. That way, it will catch the pee on the way.

Once your baby is out of the pool or water, you must change him into a regular diaper. Alternatively, while getting to the pool or beach you can put a regular diaper on top of the swim diaper to hold the potential leaks.

Baby crawling on a beach in swim trunks with in-built swim diaper.

Benefits Of Using Reusable Swim Diapers

Because swim diapers don’t hold any pee, there’s no point in getting them single use… especially since the possibility of your baby pooping in a swim diaper is small (we lived by the pool and beach and I swear it only happened once, and honestly, we could have avoided it).

  • Eco-Friendly: Reusable swim diapers are very eco-friendly. Think about the mounds of trash that disposable diapers contribute too. Using reusable diapers is a small step towards reducing that.
  • Less expensive: When you look at the cost of a reusable swim diaper online, you are going to wonder what I’m talking about. What you need to factor in is that this diaper will be used again and again and again. In fact, a single good quality diaper costs significantly less than a bag of disposable ones.
  • It’s less bulky: You have to carry one or a maximum two diapers per child. If you choose to go the disposable way, you would be hauling more than that. 
  • More comfortable: The lining of the reusable swim diapers is cloth and designed for comfort – less diaper rashes.

However, if you want to put a cute swimsuit on the baby, then your only choice is a disposable diaper underneath.

Keep in mind that these are the only items I recommend bringing with you for a baby because swim diapers are harder to buy in beach destinations – anything else like regular diapers, formula, or wipes you can buy at your destination.

Pool Rules in Regards to Swim Diapers

Most public pools and pools used for swim lessons across the world insist on a double diaper system. That means a standard disposable swim nappy has to be put underneath a reusable swim diaper.

If you don’t have that, various waterparks will make you purchase a plastic cover for the diaper to create double protection.

Urine simply doesn’t matter, the chemicals in the pool deal with it – it isn’t like every adult is also weeing in the pool.

That said, accidents happen and if a poop is more liquid some parts might occasionally come out of the diaper. This is why, all cruise lines ban all children in swim diapers who aren’t potty trained from pools to avoid contamination.

Swim diapers for babies

Best Reusable Swim Diaper Brands

The reusable swim diaper is a savior for parents like me and with good reason. It’s easy to use, does not generate trash, and it’s a one-off cost. Some brands are better than others, so pick accordingly.

1. Most Comfortable Reusable Swim Diaper – Greensprouts

Greensprouts is one of the most comfortable brands and never fails when it comes to “solid accidents” Exceptions and it is probably one of the reasons that this brand sells out so fast. The diaper has a soft absorbent lining and is waterproof.

We had many greensprouts over the years and I must say that they tend to run small so I recommend ordering two sizes up. Otherwise, they’re cute, comfy, and practical – even have boy swim trunks with a built-in diaper version.

2. Best Reusable Swim Diaper With Leg Seals – Splash About

I’m usually very paranoid because my kids keep fidgeting with their swim diapers. This is especially true when it is at the beach and sand gets added into the equation and it’s hard to get it off later.

That is why I love diapers with a tight leg seal and this particular model is recommended by swim schools. Splash About diapers are perfect for the beach. The elastic leg bands keep the system sealed and they are still easy to remove in case the child does poop.

3. Cutest Reusable Swim Diapers – Babygoal

One of the great things about buying an adjustable model is that it grows with the child. This makes buying a reusable swim diaper, even more cost-effective.

The adjustments also meant that the seal at the legs always remained intact irrespective of how big or small the child was. 

Babygoal brand makes the cutest designs and patterns, especially if you have a girl. I just love their style and quality.

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