If you take infants or toddlers swimming in the summertime, you know that getting them ready can be a challenge. Hat to protect them from the sun? Check. Rashguard? Check. Floaties? Double check. But how much time do you spend thinking about swim diapers? If you haven’t considered the importance of them before, now's your chance to get better acquainted with them and maybe learn a little about the benefits of reusable swim diapers.
The reason swim diapers are so important is because they help protect your kids and other swimmers in the pool from waterborne diseases that may be transferred via fecal matter. In fact, a well-fitted swim diaper will prevent a baby’s stool from leaking into the water, trapping over 95% of the accompanying E. coli bacteria.
If you’re at a public pool (most of which require the use of swim diapers), state law often mandates that when solid waste enters the water, swimming facilities have to be shut down and cleaned before it can be used again. While the pull-on/tear away swim diapers are popular, they’re not as protective against leaks as reusable swim diapers.
While a good swim diaper is a great help, nothing helps to protect other swimmers if your child has diarrhea. According to the Center for Disease Control, research done looking into how well swim diapers and swim pants are able to keep fecal matter and infection-causing germs from leaking into the pool found that it may delay germs like cryptosporidium from getting into the water for a few minutes, but they don’t keep the water from becoming contaminated. No type of swim diaper manufacturer makes this claim.
As a parent, you should keep your child out of the water if he or she is ill with diarrhea. These diapers are also not a substitute for frequent diaper changes and bathroom breaks for newly potty-trained tots so make sure you’re making trips to the bathroom or checking every 45-60 minutes. When you do need to carry out a diaper change, be sure you do it away from the pool area to avoid risk of contamination. Do it in the bathroom so that you can wash your hands afterward to prevent germ spreading in the water. If you’re using reusable swim diapers, be sure you keep several on hand in case these changes are necessary.
If you own a pool, make sure your guests know the importance of using swim diapers and not letting their children swim if they are sick with diarrhea. It will make everyone’s swimming experience (not to mention their time away from the pool) much more pleasant.
Reusable diapers are made of two layers—a durable nylon on the outside that is made to resist chlorine damage and an inner layer that is made from flannel or brushed cotton that is soft and non-irritating on the wearer. Reusable diapers are also more cost effective and cut down on waste.
The reusable diapers are also fairly easy to launder. While some may be squeamish about the whole cloth-diaper concept, it can be broken down into five easy steps, according to Love to Know Baby:
- Rinse any stool out of the diaper immediately
- Turn diaper liner inside out, being sure to re-attach any Velcro fasteners to protect them from damage
- Machine or hand wash as directed in hot, soapy water
- Never use bleach, since it can be harsh on the elastic
- Machine or line dry as directed
Using a good disposable diaper in the pool is a must to keep all swimmers safe. Using reusable swim diapers is a good way to be economical, make an easy choice that’s better on
baby’s skin, and help to cut down on waste. Just remember two things: DON’T let kids swim who have diarrhea and FREQUENTLY check your kids’ swim diapers.