A follow-up to Volume 1: Best Baby Sunscreens
[Next edition: sun protective clothing (I know I promised this next last time, but I lied!)]
Heading to the pool or beach this summer? You'll probably need some swim diapers so your kid doesn't shut the pool down with a doodie (thank you, Caddyshack).
Swim diapers are special in that they don't contain "water crystals" (sodium polyacrylate) and therefore, they don't absorb liquid. If they did, they'd puff up immediately (like a normal diaper) once they hit the water and lose their "containment" power.
The sole purpose of swim diapers is to contain poop and prevent the spread of all the nastiness that comes with it. Contrary to what you might think, their job is not to contain pee*.
* While baby is in a swim diaper, you may get pee'd on. Sorry. Be sure to use a towel under your babe's butt while in her car seat - or better yet, just wait until right before you're ready to swim to change.
You can do whatever you please at the beach, but some pools have special rules about kids in diapers. Again, the main concern is preventing the spread of illness and disease** from accidents. For example, pools on cruise ships completely prohibit children in diapers (of any kind). The pool at our swim school requires a double-up system: a reusable diaper OVER a disposable diaper, whereas our neighborhood pool allows either. You never know.
** A single poop accident can shut a pool down for hours or even days. I would guess that shutting down a pool would be one of the more embarrassing things that could happen in life. Just sayin.
** Always keep babies and children with diarrhea OUT of the pool completely. Far, far away.
That said, there are 2 kinds of swim diapers: disposable and reusable.
Disposable diapers start at 16 lbs and come in diaper sizes 3-6 (S, M, L for Huggies). For smaller babies? You're going to have to use reusable swim diapers (see below).
Pros: Easy to remove by tearing the sides, soiled diapers can be tossed in the garbage.
Cons: Somewhat expensive if you're a frequent swimmer (about $.50 - .$60 each), don't always contain poop very well, don't come in smaller sizes; can cause rashes and chafing, can look saggy.
If you don't swim a lot, disposable swim diapers are the most economical way to go. Always bring extras to change into in case of a #2
For added protection, I would highly recommend using a reusable "waterproof pant" over your disposable swim diaper. About $2-$3 each, they are cheap, durable and easy to clean and re-use. Gerber makes them as does Dappi. These are practically impossible to find in stores. Anywhere.
Reusable Swim Diapers
Reusable swim diapers seem to be preferred by most parents and pool operators -- especially by those who live warm climates, swim a lot, etc.
These diapers generally fit better* because they don't stretch out and sag.
* You want them to be fairly tight to contain stuff, so be sure not to order them too big because they won't do their job as well. That said, you don't want them so tight that they cause redness around the thighs.
Reusable swim diapers are more economical if you're a frequent swimmer, as two or three should get you through the summer, 3 or 4 if you swim a lot. Remember, you'll need to buy at least 2 to change your baby after a numeros dos. I always bring 2 extras with me just in case there are TWO poopages to deal with because INEVITABLY, the day you take your baby swimming, she'll have 3 back-to-back poops. Murphy's Law. Note to self: no prunes for breakfast on swim day.
Reusable swim diapers cost about $10-$15 each, the price of just one pack of disposables. Most baby swimsuit bottoms also have a reinforced swim diaper-like bottom, but I wouldn't rely on this alone. I prefer to use a snug-fitting reusable swim diaper under a lined swimsuit for added protection (and for easier changing).
The downside to reusables is that you'll have to wash them out after a #2 (this is par-for-the-course for cloth diapering moms; the rest of us may find it a little icky). Be sure to bring some disposable diaper sacks along to contain the mess.
Here are some favorites:
A favorite among cloth diapering moms, this reusable swim diaper has Velcro (sorry, "hook and loop") closures on the sides for easy changing and a snug fit. They start at 9 pounds, so they can be used for the smallest of babes.
iPlay $5 - $12The best-selling iPlay swim diaper is cute and inexpensive. Their plain white diaper has snaps on the side and their cutesie ones pull on like pants.
The Sun Smartie by One Step Ahead is also a crowd favorite. An adjustable diaper with Velcro fasteners, it provides a snug fit, easy changing and UPF 50 protection.
REMEMBER, folks, there are NO guarantees that a swim diaper - disposable or reusable - will contain your baby's poo in every scenario. Many frequent-swimming parents have a horror story (or two) to share. Honestly? Your job is to pray to god that your kid doesn't poop while swimming and if he does - get to it right away before it.... you know... just get to it as soon as you can. Once you see the red, scrunched-up poop-face, declare a Code Brown and evacuate the premises, stat!
*** For babies younger than 6 months old who have not started solids, I would be extra cautious. Not to get too graphic, but the loose-stool situation of a young baby is dicey in a pool. Try the beach instead ;-) There's more water out there. And stuff. You know?
Next Issue: Sunglasses and Sun Protective Clothing