What to Do if You Don’t Have Swim Diapers

what to do if you don't have swim diapers

If you plan on taking your baby with you for a dip in the pool but you don’t have any swim diapers on hand, then what are your options?

Unfortunately, there isn’t an alternative to swim diapers. Regular diapers and cloth diapers are absolutely not allowed. You either need to buy some swim diapers or your baby can’t be in the pool. In fact, some swimming pool dress codes are so strict that they don’t even allow swim diapers. If you are not sure whether swim diapers are allowed at your local pool, you should call them to find out.

That said, some swimming pools do allow swim diapers to be worn in the pool and they may even sell disposable swim diapers for situations just like this. If they don’t, then there may be a nearby store that does sell them, but this is not a guarantee. Worst case scenario, you might have to cancel your pool plans, or go farther out of your way to get swim diapers from another store.

Once you have access to a swim diaper and your pool allows swim diapers, then you’re in business. We highly recommend putting two diapers on your baby. Put a regular diaper on first and then put the disposable swim diaper over that. You can also apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly around the edges of the regular diaper to create a stronger seal to keep water out, and any urine inside the diaper.

In this article, we will discuss why swim diapers are so crucial for babies to wear in the pool. We also discuss why, unfortunately, any swim diaper alternatives are not reliable enough, as well as which swim diapers you should get so that your baby can feel as comfortable as possible.

Why must your baby wear swim diapers?

A baby does not yet have enough control over his or her body and so a diaper is there to keep the mess to a minimum. Until they grow up a bit more, a swim diaper is mandatory for the pool.

There are currently no adequate alternatives to the swim diaper. It’s either that or you are not allowed into the pool at all. Even though swim diapers are the best option, sometimes they can malfunction too.

Sanitation is extremely important, particularly in public swimming pools. The safety and well being of any pool goers remains the pool staffs’ number one priority, which means that it is crucial that water quality remains high.

As such, some pool dress codes might even forbid swim diapers due to fears that some fecal matter might still leak out. Urine is not as big of an issue because it is quickly taken care of by the chlorine.

However, if feces is discovered in the pool, everyone is evacuated until the problem is taken care of. In addition to removing the feces, the sanitation process requires them to drain the pool, add water back, and involves adding chemicals that will neutralize bacteria, such as chlorine. Since this is such a disruptive event, some pools may ban any and all diapers just to be safe.

So that you don’t accidentally cause such an incident, you need to learn how and why swim diapers are the most effective diapers you can wear in the water, and how to properly deal with them.

Swim diapers are non-absorbent

Wait a minute, swim diapers aren’t absorbent? Doesn’t that sound like a negative, since regular diapers are super absorbent in order to soak up all of that urine?

This might be gross to think about, but people pee in the pool all the time. We rely on chlorine to neutralize any harmful bacteria found in urine. Other than the small amount of waste products found in it, urine is otherwise mostly just water which will get diluted in the pool and the waste products taken care of by the chlorine.

Since adults are peeing a bunch in the pool already (not saying that’s a good thing, nor is that a behavior to be encouraged), a baby’s contribution is almost negligible.

So rather than lining the inside of a swim diaper with absorbent material, which would end up just absorbing a bunch of pool water instead of urine as well as becoming significantly heavier when saturated which is a safety risk, swim diapers simply aren’t absorbent. There is no benefit to it being absorbent.

Instead, the biggest issue is fecal matter. Feces contains much more bacteria than urine and is a major concern with regards to sanitation and water quality. While a swim diaper isn’t absorbent, it still must be capable of containing poop.

Do swim diapers hold poop?

At a minimum, swim diapers should be able to hold solid waste so that it doesn’t escape into the pool. When the parent takes their baby out of the pool to change their diaper, it also means that the feces is removed from the pool and disposed of.

That said, liquid poop such as diarrhea is a different story and that may leak out. Plus, even if the poop is held in the diaper, the bacteria can still spread into the water due to a leak. For these reasons, swim diapers are sometimes banned from swimming pools.

Reusable or disposable swim diapers?

You can choose between getting reusable or disposable swim diapers. Like their non-swimming counterparts, disposable ones are single use and thrown away after a swimming session. Reusable ones can be washed and reused each time your baby goes swimming. This is preferable if you plan on taking your baby to the pool frequently; you can even get one with cute graphics on it.

That said, if it is more economical for you to buy disposable packs of swim diapers, then there are some things to keep in mind since the quality might be lower. First, check that the diaper secures around the waist and legs tightly, but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable or restricts blood flow. This is necessary to ensure that solid waste does not escape into the pool.

Can you use regular diapers instead of swim diapers?

No, regular diapers are not a viable substitute for swim diapers in the pool. The biggest issue is absorbency. On land, they are designed to absorb all of the liquid waste your child produces. However, underwater, all the diaper is going to absorb is a bunch of pool water.

What you’ll end up with is just a sodden diaper that is heavy, restrictive, and a safety hazard. It will be difficult for your child to maneuver in the water with the extra weight and bulk that a regular diaper has. There is also a risk that a sodden diaper can simply fall off, and any solid waste contained within may end up floating around the pool.

Thus, to prevent a similar thing happening to a swim diaper, it is highly recommended that you put a swimsuit over your baby in addition to wearing a swim diaper.

Cloth diapers run into similar issues. Even worse, you may struggle to get the same snug fit around the waist and legs that keeps solids from floating away.

How many swim diapers do you need?

To avoid any issues of not having swim diapers on hand, you should have a couple of reusable swim diapers on rotation. That way you don’t have as much pressure to get a swim diaper cleaned and dried by the next day or whenever, and instead you can just get a fresh swim diaper for your baby. Buy as many swim diapers as you need so that you don’t run out, but you need at least two for this to work.

If you search online, there are plenty of parents saying that they have found a hack, shortcut, or their own unique way of solving this problem. Unfortunately, they are not always hygienic or safe, or you may not be able to reproduce what they did perfectly.

The best way to deal with this problem is to stock up on reusable swim diapers and to use them in a rotation. In the long run, this is the most space efficient and ecnomical option. Ideally, you won’t ever run out as long as you’re keeping on top of the washing and drying, and assuming you don’t lose or damage any.

That said, all of this is moot if your swimming pool doesn’t even allow swimming diapers to be worn. So the first order of business is to call them and figure this detail out before you proceed to buy a bunch of swim diapers.