The Lowdown on Swim Diapers

Posted by Kevin on 2021 Jul 8th

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night, depending on when you’re reading this entry.

Today I want to talk about Swim diapers.

One of the questions I get asked the most is, “What exactly is a swim diaper?” So, I thought with summer on its way and the hope that things will start to open up again, we could talk about this exact question. Whenever I see people swimming at swimming pools, it reminds me that there are people who don’t go swimming because either they don’t know about swim diapers or they don’t understand swim diapers. Hopefully this blog entry can help.

Swim diapers don’t work the same way that regular diapers do. This goes for both adult and children's diapers alike. Regular diapers are absorbent. They are designed to puff up when they fill with liquid. They pull the liquid away from the body, while at the same time containing any solids.

The material that makes diapers so absorbent, crystals which are called Super Absorbent Polymer or SAP for short, also turns them into a waterlogged anchor around one’s waist once they are submerged in water. Not only is their absorbing action rendered useless once they soak up water, but their weight makes them super saggy, to the point of falling off, and they definitely can’t hold anything inside once they’re stretched out.

Swim diapers will, however, hold a small amount before you hit the water. Swim diapers do still contain SAP. It is not as much as a regular diaper but enough to handle any accidents between the time you put it on and the time you get into the pool. For the most part, swim diapers are designed to withstand water and contain solids. They aren’t meant to absorb. Instead, they are designed to contain solids and allow liquids to pass through much like a swimsuit. This means you won't have any absorbency once out of the water though, so you’ll have to change to a regular diaper after swimming.

Types of swim diapers

Swim diapers come in both reusable cloth and disposable pull ups. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Disposables are cheap and offer convenience, but they tend to sag and are more prone to letting something slip out.

Reusable swim diapers have hook and loop fasteners or snaps at the side. These usually offer a better fit, but are more expensive, high maintenance, and can be bulky.

Remember that swim diapers need to have a snug fit to contain solid waste. So they will probably be snugger than your regular diapers.

Personally, I love Rearz Reusable Cloth Swim Diapers because you can add a booster to them and then use them as a low-capacity diaper. I’ve also been known to use them over-top of a disposable diaper for added bulk and protection. By adding a booster to your Rearz reusable swim diaper, it will, in effect, become like a Rearz pocket diaper. However, the swim diaper has a mesh inner layer with no pocket to put the booster into. As a result it may not be as soft as, say, a pocket diaper.

“Work with what you have”

If you’re a big swimmer I suggest you have at least 3 reusable swim diapers. That way you can still swim and have 1 used, 1 in use, and 1 spare. This would also allow you to wash 2 at a time. Another thing you could do if you only swim occasionally and don't have a designated swim diaper is remove the boosters from a Rearz Pocket Diaper and use it as a makeshift swim diaper.

Environmental Note

In the past, people would wear cloth diapers with a waterproof cover over-top when swimming. With the invention of disposable diapers, people would just go swimming in that, sometimes with a waterproof diaper cover. I do not recommend this at all, and many pools, in fact, ban the use of disposable diapers. This is because diapers can sometimes “explode” and the SAP can wreck the pool's filtration system. A regular disposable diaper "explodes" because when you wear it in the water the SAP starts to work over time. Once fully submerged the SAP will expand to its max capacity which can then stretch and even rip the outer shell of a diaper. This becomes an incredible mess and an environmental issue if swimming in a lake or ocean. Please make sure to only use swim diapers when going into the water.