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Understanding Swim Diapers

Going to the pool with your baby and not sure what to do about their diaper? The answer is swim diapers. Swim diapers, or swim pants, are a specially-designed diaper that is meant to be used only in the pool or ocean to make sure that your little one's bum is covered and contained. This guide will go over the types of swim diapers that are available and why swim diapers are essential for babies to wear.


Purpose and Importance of Swim Diapers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all public swimming facilities require the use of swim diapers on infants and toddlers. Their reasons for this are as follows:

  • Swim diapers prevent bathroom "accidents" in the pool.
  • Swim diapers significantly decrease the spread of fecal bacterial contamination.
  • Swim diapers prevent waste from spreading bacteria like E. coli.
  • Such infection-causing bacteria can be dangerous and potentially lethal to individuals in and around the pool facility.

Many parents prefer using swim diapers as opposed to regular diapers because they:

  • Do not swell-up like normal diapers in the pool.
  • Are easy to use on a pool-day.
  • Come in easy-to-find, various sizes.
  • Keep their child healthy and safe.
  • Keep other near-by children and individuals healthy and safe.
  • Can add a cute style to the baby's swim outfit.

Why Wear Swim Diapers and Not Regular Diapers?

Swim diapers are specifically made to be worn in the pool or at the beach. Their purpose is to prevent the diaper from swelling up, becoming uncomfortable, and losing its ability to perform its intended function. Below explains the differences between a swim diaper and a normal diaper if used at the pool:

Swim diapers:

  • Have minimal water absorption to prevent adding extra weight.
  • Are easy to put on and take off while wet.
  • Have fun swim-friendly designs.

Regular diapers:

  • Do NOT restrict any water absorption, thus adding unnecessary weight to the baby's diaper
  • Will sag when wet.
  • Are uncomfortable once they swell with water.
  • Will not retain any urine or feces once in pool.
  • Are sturdy enough to stay on while in wet pool.

Reusable Swim Diapers vs. Disposable Swim Diapers

Both reusable and disposable swim diapers are good alternatives, but public pools may only allow one type. Be sure to check with the public pool facility before entering the pool. The following are the benefits and features of both disposable and reusable swim diapers:

Disposable swim diapers:

  • Need to be changed as soon as they are soiled.
  • Must be changed away from pool area.
  • Cannot be used again after changing.
  • Easily fit a pack of Huggies® Little Swimmer® in purse or bag.

Reusable swim diapers:

  • Need to be cleaned as soon as they are soiled.
  • Must be changed away from pool area.
  • Can be used again after fully cleaning in the wash.
  • Must bring extra reusable diapers to change into after one is soiled.
  • My Pool Pal swim diapers come in cute, reusable styles.

Features to Look For

Two of the best swim diapers out there are the Huggies® Little Swimmer® Swimpants (disposable) and the My Pool Pal swim diaper (reusable). Both contain the following ideal features for swim diapers:

Huggies® Little Swimmer® Swimpant:

  • Reliable swim diaper with adorable designs.
  • Tear-away tabs for easy removal and disposal.
  • Unique absorbent material won't swell in water.
  • Special leak guards help protect fecal leakage.
  • Stretchy sides for a comfortable fit.
  • Back label helps kids tell back from front.

My Pool Pal swim diaper:

  • Reusable swim diaper that must be thoroughly cleaned after each use.
  • Reliable swim diaper combined with the function and style of an adorable swimsuit.
  • Can be pulled on and off just like underwear.
  • Minimal water absorption to prevent adding extra weight.
  • Sell matching accessories, like sun hats, rash guards, etc.

How to Use Swim Diapers

  • Put swim diaper(s) on infant or child.
  • OPTIONAL: Put swim bottom over swim diaper.
  • Check swim diaper for soiling every 30-60 minutes.
  • For toddlers, take them on bathroom breaks every 30-60 minutes.
  • Once soiled, change child or infant in a bathroom, away from pool.
  • Change to a new swim diaper.
  • Throw away used disposable swim diaper OR clean reusable swim diaper and store.
  • Wash reusable swim diaper in washing machine at home.


Every public swimming facility may have its own specific rules for swim diapers, but the main idea is always the same: keep the pool and surrounding area clean and safe. Some public pools require the use of any sort of swim pant. Other pools may have strict rules where they require the baby to simultaneously wear two types of swim pant for extra safety precautions.

Before heading to the pool, be sure to call the facility ahead of time to check what their requirements are. The standards for healthy swimming at each public pool facility are determined both by the CDC and by the individual pool regulations.

Shop all Swim Diapers.

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Nancy Stockton
3 months ago.
TrustyTrunks LEAKPROOF, waterproof, sand-proof swim diapers keep sand and pool water out and messes in! What happens in the diaper stays in the diaper....
Heather Rust
1 year ago.
They are not allowed in any pools on cruise ships.
Samantha Brown
1 year ago.
The best swim diaper for our baby girl we found was the Will and Fox reusable swim diaper.

It adjusts and will fit her from when we got it when she was a newborn baby until she is out of diapers when she is potty trained as a toddler.

We had to get something for her swim school and these are so good all our friends now get them because they have seen her wearing them.

They are amazing! We bought them off Amazon but they also have a website out friends in the UK and in Australia have bought them off. They sell to all countries and the shipping was only $5.

We are waiting for when they release their matching swim hats and rash shirts.
Apparently they are making an eco friendly like where the gear is made with recycled fishing nets.

Thought that was pretty nifty.
Google "Will and Fox" to find their international store that's only $5 for shipping.

This is their USA Amazon store where I purchased my last 2 pairs $17.99!!
1 year ago.
TrustyTrunks are a new diaper cover for swimming that go over any regular diaper. The cover holds in urine and keeps pool water out.
2 years ago.
Are these as safe in a saltwater only pool?
2 years ago.
They are specifically-designed diaper that is meant to be used only in the pool or ocean. Yes, they are saife in both salt water and pool.
3 years ago.
Does baby wear a regular diaper underneath the reusable swim diaper?
3 years ago.
No, you do not want a regular diaper to be exposed to water for too long as it will expand until it busts open.
4 years ago.
Swim diapers do not work. They don't even keep fecal matter out of the pool. Parents, like me, who use them already know this first hand. All claims otherwise are unresearched, unverified, untested and patently false. The best that swim diapers can do is keep some of the poo out of the pool.
Marganne lammar
3 years ago.
That's true, pool closed today for 1/2 hour, swim diaper didn't keep the poo out of the pool!
Pauline Yakobina
2 years ago.
I agree with you Swim diapers do not work
1 year ago.
Just found this out the hard way. He never pooped in his iplay reusable swim diaper until today and sure enough the poop cane wafting out of the water as he jumped in. I don’t even know when he went. Pool closed so embarrassed.
Nancy Stockton
10 months ago.
I agree so strongly, and was so horrified, I invented TrustyTrunks, leakproof swim diaper solution. They are made from silicone, like bathing caps, and form a watertight seal at the waist and legs. With TrustyTrunks, what happens in the diaper stays in the diaper!
4 years ago.
Thanks for the effort and time you put to write this up. Really helpful.
4 years ago.
is the swim diaper regulated by the FDA, or it s just consider cloth for baby s?
its medical issue?
4 years ago.
All swim diapers do is keep the poop from floating in the pool water. PLease stop.
clarice a.
4 years ago.
We have a new adopted 14 year old daughter whom we have in cloth diapers and rubberpants 24/7 during her adjustment period.when we go to the public pool,i put a size 7 pampers on her with rubberpants over it that she wears under her swimsuit.
carole b,
4 years ago.
We just baptized our 15 year old daughter by immersion two weeks ago and she had to wear a white gown into the tank and was given a pair of white rubberpants to wear under the gown in place of her normal underwear.They were just like baby rubberpants only larger and fit her a little loose.After her baptism,she had to be dressed in a poofy white dress and veil and had to wear the rubberpants under the dress for the post baptism party.
4 years ago.
While unpleasant, urine is sterile (unless you have an infection), as opposed to fecal matter, which is full of bacteria and poses a risk of infection to those exposed to it. Urine will not pose the same risk of transmitting an infectious agent to others.
Abbie Jean Ward
4 years ago.
Does it hold urine???
4 years ago.
Nope, if your child pees in it the urine will run right down their legs. I think it's primarily to keep fecal matter contained.
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