Whether you only swim on occasion or are in the water year-round, having a little one means there will probably come a time when you need a swim diaper.
You’ll have many options when it comes to shopping for these products. Whether you’re looking for single-use diapers or reusable, extra small or extra large, there’s a swim diaper out there for you.
Quick ComparisonOur Top Swim Diapers Picks of 2019 Read Full Reviews
Does My Baby Really Need One?
Have a baby who hasn’t finished potty training? Then you need a swim diaper for the same reasons you need a regular diaper — your child is still too young to have control over their bowels and bladder.
Swimming pools bring with them distraction, which can reduce your child’s ability to perceive the signals the body gives when it’s time to go. Immersion in water can also increase the need to void and dull the physiological indicators.
A swim diaper prevents accidents from becoming a hassle. Swim diapers won’t be effective for completely avoiding a bladder accident. However — they can’t be, as an absorbent diaper would just become full of water during a swim.
Rather, they’re there to prevent a bowel accident from compromising the cleanliness and safety of the water for other swimmers.
If you’ve ever had to sanitize a pool (or had to leave a pool early due to a closure for such sanitization) you know it’s a big deal — it can also be costly, financially as well as emotionally for your child (source).
Don’t set your child’s potty training progress by skipping the swim diaper before they’re fully ready. You may regret it.
Won’t a Regular Diaper Work?
It’s tempting to think a regular diaper will do in a pinch. It’s just not true, though. Regular diapers are designed to be extremely absorbent. When submerging a child in the water, that diaper will absorb and retain every drop of water it can.
Your child will be uncomfortable in such a laden diaper. This can even lead to chafing where the diaper sits at the hips and belly. The second, even bigger issue, is that the full diaper will cause gapping at the thighs.
A regular diaper will be all but useless should your child have an accident.
Types of Swim Diapers
You can choose from a variety of different styles and types. The two basic categories, however, are disposables and reusables.
- Disposables: These are made to be used once and then thrown away. Instead of a traditional adhesive on back tabs wrapping to the front, these attach at the sides of the hip. This makes for easier removal, with less cleanup should there be an accident.
- Reusables: As the name suggests, they can be used many times. In between uses, you simply need to wash them, then they’re ready to go. You’ll find multiple closure styles, including snaps, velcro, and pull-up designs.
What to Look For
When shopping for your swim diaper, here are some things you’ll want to consider:
- Comfort: Expect that there will be some trial and error to finding something that best suits your little one. The swim diaper that’s the right fit your child’s body and activity level may not be the first one you reach for.
- Functionality: Don’t waste your time with poorly-reviewed diapers, or ones made of inferior quality material. No matter how inexpensive or cute they may be, pass them up or throw them out if they aren’t up to the task.
- Price: The cost is bound to be a consideration when it comes time to purchase your swim diaper. Rest assured there are great options at every price point.
The Best Swim Diapers of 2019
The right swim diaper will let your budding swimmer enjoy their day in the water without any drama — and will minimal cleanup for you. Now that you know what to look for, let’s consider some popular swim diapers on the market. These are a few of our favorites.
1. Thirsties Swim Diaper
If you’re looking for a diaper that’s truly going to fit your newborn, this Thirsties swim diaper is a great option. It’s suitable for babies weighing as little as 6 pounds and will continue to work for your child through 18 pounds.
Thirsties isn’t new to the diaper game — it’s well established as a cloth diaper company. Their swim diaper is a modified version of the very popular Duo Wrap cloth diaper cover.
Lined with mesh for additional comfort and protection, it has a double gusset through the thighs to prevent leaking. This is trim and not intrusive, encouraging your baby to move in the water.
Both the rise and the wing tabs are adjustable. Even when your baby grows, you’ll be able to adjust this to provide a perfect fit for your little swimmer.
- Moms report this diaper is great in the water, even for exclusively breastfed babies.
- The double-gusset feature reduces the potential for thigh gapping and even helps keep in bladder accidents.
- Rise and hip snaps allow for a fully customized fit.
- Some parents felt this diaper didn’t fit as well toward the upper weight limit.
2. Ecoable Reusable Swim Diaper
Fitting older children for swim diapers can be challenging. Fortunately, Ecoable reusable swim diapers have you covered, all the way up to 60 pounds.
Available in multiple colors to suit your child, these are neutral and subtle. They easily blend into the landscape of other swimsuits to mitigate any insecurities your child may have about needing the additional protection.
A breathable exterior “PUL” layer, adjustable absorbency levels, and several sizes to choose from make this an excellent choice for an older child. The Ecoable can be a good choice if you need a swim diaper that can also be used as a normal diaper — or potty-training pants — outside of the water.
Available in a selection of colors and prints, these diapers have great multi-purpose functionality. Parents love the adjustability and even report these make great overnight underwear during potty training.
- Can accommodate a larger child and is adjustable for the best fit.
- Will hold the moisture from one bladder accident.
- The included snap-in bamboo absorbent inserts (for use outside of the pool) can be bulky.
3. Bummis Swimmi Swim Diaper
This Bummis diaper uses velcro for easy on and off. The extra-wide tabs and swath of velcro on the front panel help prevent slipping while in the water.
The biggest upside to using a velcro fastener is how quickly you can get the diaper on. If your child is especially difficult to keep still, you may prefer the velcro over the snaps.
Be aware that velcro can be more high maintenance than snaps. It tends not to last as long, will collect hair and lint in the wash, and can easily damage other clothing. For long-lasting results, pay attention to how you use, wash, and store this.
Velcro does provide an exceptional custom fit, however, and many users prefer it for just that reason. It’s also straightforward — just like using a disposable diaper — and not intimidating for those who don’t regularly use snap-based cloth diapers.
- Very easy to use — even for a beginner.
- Parents report these are leakproof — even when faced with a true mess.
- This is a great “grow-with-me” option, as it’s highly adjustable.
- You’ll need to pay more attention to laundering your velcro swim diaper.
4. Fun Well Reusable Adjustable Diaper
Keeping your baby stylish and the pool protected doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. If you’re looking for a quality reusable diaper that won’t set you back, this one by Fun Well is a great option.
For the cost of a latte at your favorite coffee joint, you can have your child set with a swim diaper for the season. With the ability to adjust the rise as well as the waist, you may even find this single purchase gets you through several years.
It’s nicely constructed with a breathable polyester material. The inside is lined with comfortable mesh that helps keep solid messes fully contained. The sweet ocean theme of the print is perfect for water wear, but other prints are available as well.
- This gives a great fit, even on babies with chunky thighs.
- They’re machine washable and the color doesn’t fade — even after multiple washes.
- Snaps are easily adjusted to create the perfect fit.
- Some parents report that these don’t fit their babies at the upper end of the weight range.
5. Babygoal Baby Swim Underwear
This swim diaper will easily suit your 0-2 year old. The fun design is perfect for aquatic play. Best of all, it’s highly functional and made from safe materials.
The material is phthalate-, latex-, lead-, and BPA-free. It’s made without harmful chemicals, like dioxins and sodium polyacrylate. Rest assured your baby won’t be in direct contact with anything that can hurt them — and that nothing will leach into the water during use.
The outer material is breathable, safe to go into the washing machine, and the manufacturer also claims it’s able to go in the dryer without being damaged.
Adjustable snaps for the waist and rise help you provide the perfect fit for your child, even as they continue to grow. The smaller the baby, the shorter you’ll make the rise. On the largest waist snaps and smallest rise? Simply let out the rise and tighten the waist.
- Parents love how soft the outer material is.
- Highly adjustable for a custom fit every time.
- These are made to be durable and long-lasting.
- Users report these diapers are on the small side and may not fit an older or larger child in the prescribed age range.
6. Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper
Toddlers need swim diapers able to accommodate a larger body — and one that stands up to activity without gapping or being easily removed.
This Nageuret swim diaper is adjustable and washable. It works for children between 30 and 50 pounds, with a waist that adjusts to 24 inches. The thigh adjustment can suit a child with up to an 18-inch thigh circumference.
If you have a taller child, there are three different settings for the rise of the diaper. Whether you have an older child who has special needs, or just a larger toddler, this has the adjustability you need for a snug fit.
An inner layer of mesh and the high-quality breathable PUL exterior make this comfortable for your child to wear — no matter how long you plan to be out in the water.
The fun prints and eco-friendly aspect are universally appealing and have been well-received by consumers.
- These are produced by a family-owned business.
- Included is a one year, money-back guarantee.
- Trim-fitting and not bulky.
- Parents report the snap system is difficult to use with enthusiastic toddlers.
7. ALVABABY Swim Diapers
ALVABABY is well-known for quality cloth diapers. The quality of their swim diapers is just as good.
The aquatic-themed designs are adorable and the diapers are made with a waterproof outer PUL layer. Elastic through the back of the diaper and along the thighs provides a great fit and helps prevent leaks.
For use with children 0–2 years of age, both the rise and the waist of this swim diaper can be easily adjusted. With three rise options and multiple waist settings, you can customize the diaper to suit your baby for each outing.
I love that the pack comes with two diapers and that they’re so functional in the water. I was also pleased with how well they wash and resist staining.
- Great value buy.
- An inner mesh lining provides additional protection and comfort.
- Some users feel these swim diapers aren’t well-suited for larger children in the stated age bracket.
8. iPlay Ruffle Swim Diaper
If you’re looking for cuteness, it doesn’t get any sweeter than a swim diaper with a ruffled backside.
The iPlay swim diaper was one of the original swim diapers to hit the market. This ruffled model comes in a variety of colors and prints, including tropical toucans, strawberries, and florals.
They’re composed of three layers: the innermost layer provides comfort for your baby, the middle absorbent layer helps to catch any messes that might occur, and the outermost layer keeps water out and accidents in.
Snaps along one side make removal easy, but the majority of the fit comes from elastic through the waist and thighs. This comes in multiple sizes, so you’ll definitely find one that best suits your child.
- Parents love how cute these diapers are.
- Very straightforward to use, without any complicated snaps or fastenings.
- Parents report these tend to be on the small side — consider ordering up a size if you think your child is between sizes.
9. Pampers Splashers
Pampers is a well-known and trusted brand. It’s not surprising that Pampers’ swim diapers would be of exceptional quality.
This one comes in three sizes that will suit babies from 13 to 40 pounds. They’re great for all kinds of water activity, whether it’s running through the sprinkler in the yard or playing in the sand beachside.
Moms love that these swim diapers are equally comfortable whether they’re dry or wet. They won’t swell in the water like a regular disposable diaper. The dual leak-guard barriers prevent any leaks, and provide a great, snug fit.
It fastens along the hip and is designed for quick and easy removal. The waistband provides stretch through the front, back, and sides, and is intended to provide exceptional comfort.
- The elastic waist gives a comfortable and adjustable fit.
- Moms report their children find these diapers to be light and comfortable.
- The side tabs are great for easy removal.
- The weight range for these swim diapers begins at 13 pounds, so they’re not suitable for very young babies.
- Not as environmentally friendly as a reusable swim diaper.
10. Sun Smarties Reusable Swim Diaper
If you’re in the market for a neutral swim diaper, it doesn’t come any more neutral than plain white.
These ones from Sun Smarties are made of coated polyester and have non-chafing elastic through the waist and thighs. They pull on and off for easy use — a particularly great feature if you plan to continue potty-training progress while at the pool.
Sun Smarties has gone out of its way to make a product that meets rigorous public pool regulations. The outer fabric is soft, and also provides 50+ UPF for all-day protection from the sun.
Close attention has been paid to the construction. Double-stitched seams create a durable final product that can put up with the wear and tear that goes along with an active toddler.
- It’s great for boys or girls.
- The pull-on style is easy to use — even for young children.
- Available in multiple sizes for a great fit.
- The pull-on style relies on a more snug fit to contain messes — if your child falls between sizes they may be uncomfortable in one size and the next size up could be ineffective.
Swim Diapers and Public Pools
Swim diapers are generally required if you’re using a public pool. With reusable diapers, repeated exposure to chlorine may damage or change the material’s color. It shouldn’t impact its functionality, though.
Bring at least one spare diaper with you, in case there’s an accident. Don’t forget, you’ll want to plan on rinsing the chlorine off immediately after changing and will need to pack out your diaper. Bring a waterproof bag for this purpose.
If you use disposable diapers, there may be specific rules for disposing of the diaper on the pool premises. Look for signs or ask a staff member if there’s a certain receptacle where they should be placed and be prepared to bag them individually before disposal.
Not all pools allow both types of swim diapers. Check with your public pool before your outing to make sure you have everything you need.
Caring for Swim Diapers
If you use disposable swim diapers, you only need to worry about keeping them dry before use. If you plan on packing them with towels and other pool or beach supplies, consider keeping them in a separate waterproof bag that’s sealable.
For reusable swim diapers, make sure you follow the washing instructions given. These are usually machine washable and can be washed in cool water with your regular detergent.
Many reusables have a coating we call “waterproof.” It’s frequently only water-resistant, however — this allows for breathability and is better for your baby’s skin. The coating can be damaged by heat and most swim diapers should be line dried.
How Many Swim Diapers Do I Need?
The number of diapers you’ll need will vary, depending on how frequently you plan to be in the water. I suggest having at least two per water experience.
If you are there for more than a few hours, you should anticipate packing as many diapers as you would expect your child to need for the same amount of time.
If you’re going with disposables, you’ll only need to consider your diapers for that specific outing, as you’ll start with a fresh set the next time you head out.
If, on the other hand, you’re using reusable swim diapers, don’t forget to factor in washing and drying time as well.
Your reusables will need to air dry. If you’re hitting the beach for a week-long vacation and you plan on using two a day, you’ll want to own at least four swim diapers.
This way you can use two each day, wash them in the evening, and while they’re drying on the line, have the other two diapers in use.
Tips For Using Swim Diapers
Juggling all the items your child needs for a fun day out can be challenging. Here are some tips for making swim diapers easy to use — and avoiding the headaches that come with lugging mountains of kiddie stuff with you.
- Plan for worst-case scenarios — think you can’t possibly go through two outfits and three diapers? Throw an extra of each in your bag for good measure. Murphy’s Law has never been more accurate than when dealing with children.
- Bring extra bags — I like to use the plastic bags designed for pet cleanup. They take up hardly any room in your diaper bag and are indispensable. They’re great for bagging dirty disposables, messy outfits, and packing out your wet gear.
Make a Splash
Swimming is a great activity for young and old alike. Get yourself and your baby in the water and you’re bound to be healthier and happier.
For the best experience in the water, don’t forget these important safety rules.
I love all these diapers, but in my home, I use the ALVABABY brand. I love the variety of prints and colors and how well they hold up to repeated use and washings. The exceptional price point doesn’t hurt, either.
What swim diapers have you found work best? We’d love to hear your experiences. Just leave a comment below — and don’t forget to share!