Swim nappies are probably the most important part of taking your baby swimming. As a parent, it is your responsibility to ensure that your baby/child keeps any little faecal accidents contained so not to contaminate the pool. Any leaks will lead to the closure of the public pool and will result in hours of cleaning… You definitely do not want to be THAT parent! I am sure that everybody reading this is very familiar with the disposable swim nappies that are readily available in supermarkets (Huggies being the most prominent brand) but have you heard of or considered using reusable swim nappies? Let’s take a look at what they are and why I think they are the best option out there…
What Is A Swim Nappy?
Ok, I’m going to start with the basics as you may be a new parent and be confused about the differences. A swim nappy is different to a standard nappy in one main way– it does NOT absorb urine. The reason for this is because if you used a standard nappy in a pool it would also absorb the water around it which would cause the nappy to swell and become heavy. Not only would this be very uncomfortable for your baby it would also be a drowning risk. A swim nappy has one purpose– to stop faecal matter from entering the pool (and yes this does mean that every swimming pool you go to is full of baby wee! Sorry.) Swim nappies are available in both disposable and reusable options but whichever you opt for must do the job for you. A public pool will insist that every non-potty trained child should wear one with some stating that you must follow the double nappy system too.
The Double Nappy System
The double nappy system is the use of 2 swim nappies to ensure that containment will most definitely happen. You will need an under nappy and a neoprene nappy layered over the top.
Disposable or Reusable?
Onto the main topic, do you go down the disposable route or the reusable? There are obvious pros and cons for both but the reusable outweighs the disposable because:
- You will never run out
- More cost-effective over time
- It is easily cleaned/washed
- Gentle on your baby’s skin
- Easy to pack for holiday and much lighter too
- It will last your child months even up to a year
- No waste
- They create about 1.5-2.5 less CO2 production during manufacturing compared to disposables
- They can be passed on or sold
- They will not sit in landfill for hundreds of years
In comparison, a disposable swim nappy can be unreliable as they are very flimsy and prone to ripping, as they are single-use you will have to keep buying them which will add up over the course of the time that your child needs to wear one for and they damage the environment during and after production– they still contain plastic as a regular disposable does so they will remain in landfill for up to 500 years, releasing microplastics and methane gases as they breakdown. The only pros are that they are readily available to buy in shops and they seem like a cheap option at the time (until you work out the expense over the years). If you go to regular swimming lessons, use swim nappies at the beach, in your paddling pool, at public pools, at Lido’s the amount you will be using will just add up…
“Using a reusable nappy for swimming lessons alone will save you approximately £12.41 a year”
Yes, a disposable may seem like a convenient option as a lot of modern single-use items have been made out to be to us consumers BUT when you look closely at the costs both to yourself, to our environment and to our oceans you will begin to see that we have in fact been sold a lie and that reusable products are most definitely the way forward.
What Are The Best Options?
As with all reusable nappies, everybody will have their own preferences and favourite brands. The popular names such as Baba and Boo, Totsbots and Bambino Mio all sell their own reusable swim nappies as well as regular reusable nappies and I have only heard good things about all of them. We personally use a Baba and Boo swim nappy under a neoprene for our swimming lessons.
You can view them all here:
(check each for their own care guidelines)
“Our nappies work in exactly the same way as the disposable variety but you can wash them, meaning you save…lots! In fact, our swim nappies cost less than three packs of disposables”
Baba and Boo Website
For your reusable neoprene nappy I can highly recommend the Happy Nappy from Splash About which is also recommended by 90% of swim schools in the UK for its reliability. I use this over the top of my Baba and Boo and William is very comfortable and still has full movement. The nappies are not bulky or restrictive, in fact, they are designed to move with your baby as they learn to swim and as the Happy Nappy fits snugly against the body, it is very streamlined. You can actually use the Happy Nappy on its own but the company do recommend to use their liners to help with the cleaning up process.
Oh, and if that wasn’t enough to persuade you did I mention that all of the above are available in adorable prints?
Reusable For The Win!
In my eyes, reusable products are the only way to ensure that we protect our planet for as long as possible and considering reusable swim nappies work out cheaper, are more reliable as well as better for my child’s skin, they are a win-win for us.
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