Swimming weather is approaching and to most of us this brings smiles to our faces as we think of the fun of splashing in a cold pool, the smell of suntan lotion and the laughter of happy children leaping off diving boards. For public health officials the opening of public pools brings with it the fear of recreational water illness (RWI).
Many of these RWI are spread through microbial contamination due to fecal matter in the water, particularly E. Coli. It is tough enough to control adults and toilet trained children who disregard posted rules regarding showering or avoiding swimming when ill with diarrhea, but what about young children who are not able to control themselves? A few years back in Wisconsin swimmers in 3 different public pools became sick when a single child who was infected with a parasite had accidents in each of the pools. More and more public health officials are requiring that children less than 3 years old wear specially designed swim diapers/nappies.
Regular disposable diapers are designed to absorb liquids and keep them away from the baby’s skin. When submerged in a swimming pool these diapers quickly become waterlogged, heavy and are rendered useless. The core of standard disposable diapers can also become a danger to pools filtration systems if they come apart. A swim nappy is designed to not absorb liquids but they will hold in solids. They can never come apart and endanger a pool filtration system.
As in standard diapers parents must make a decision when purchasing swim diapers, they can choose between reusable and disposable. Reusable swim nappies are like a regular bathing suit; they are washable and worn again and again. They contain solids and do not absorb liquids. Disposable swim diapers are like normal disposable nappies; they are thrown away after they are soiled.
There are pros and cons for each type or swim diaper/nappies. Some pros of reusable swim nappies are that are more economical if your child will be doing quite a bit of swimming. If you are traveling a reusable swim diaper will take up far less room. As is the case in standard diapers, there is less environmental impact with a reusable. Reusable swim nappies have less chance of irritating a baby’s skin as there are no chemicals.
The cons of reusable swim diapers is that they must be replaced frequently as the child grows as they must have a tight fit to work properly. They require washing after each soiling, which is very time consuming. There is an environmental impact to this process as well. A swim nappy that must be pulled up or down can be a messy affair when it is full, you can try and find ones that open.
Disposable swim nappies are extremely convenient. They are easy to pull onto the baby and they are made so that the side can be torn so they are easy to remove. They never have to be washed they simply can be thrown away. You can find disposable swim diapers in many locations, so they are easy to locate when traveling.
There are negatives to disposable swim nappies, such as the expense. They have an environmental impact, particularly to landfills. The downside to the disposable swim nappies being easily torn is that the baby can sometimes accidentally remove them.
Toddlers may have some that must be taken into account as well. A young child that has grown tired of wearing diapers may not wish to wear a disposable swim diaper and be more comfortable in the more swimsuit like reusable. The bright colors and cartoon characters which are often printed on the disposable nappies may appeal to them however.
Here at the British Swim School Seattle we require all babies to be doubled diapered and even provide reusable diaper covers to make sure we protect all swimmers in the water and provide a safe and healthy environment for all to enjoy.