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Swimming Nappies Explained

Swimming Nappies Explained

We all know that babies poo whenever they want to, not when convenient to you!  Even toddlers that have been successfully potty trained for months or even years can ignore the warning signs when they’re enjoying themselves! Baby swimming nappies come in all shapes and sizes so we’ve debunked some myths, laid out some facts, and explained everything you need to know about the baby swim nappy below.

That’s why at Baby Paddlers, we ask that all our babies & toddlers wear a double nappy system. This means a paper swim nappy (disposable or reusable) must be worn with a neoprene nappy over the top. If you need to purchase a neoprene nappy, we recommend the Konfidence NeoNappy Cover, please follow the link to take advantage of an exclusive 10% discount. Most babies, particularly in our hydrotherapy pools are happy to swim in just their neoprene nappy, however, every baby is very different; some feel the cold and others are always toasty so you might want to wear a wetsuit also.

Pre-schoolers that are successfully toilet trained do not need to wear our double nappy system.

Our double nappy system helps to ensure we avoid leaks, which in turn helps to prevent the spread of various bugs, and also helps spare your blushes should your little one have an accident! Should you spot a nappy leak, please let your teacher know immediately. Not because we’re going to tell you off 🙂 but we need to know for everybody’s health and safety. An accident does typically mean the swimming pool will have to be closed for a few hours, and typically your class will be cancelled as well as the classes that follow you.

Swimming Nappies Explained

Choosing your under swim nappy 

disposable swim nappy

When it comes to choosing the under swim nappy (widely known as Happy Nappy) you have two basic choices. Either a disposable swim nappy or a reusable swim nappy. Below we bullet out the main considerations. Whatever you do, don’t put your baby in a normal everyday nappy! It will get full of water, make your baby weigh a ton and in all likelihood split open releasing all the contents with it!

  • Reusable swim nappies cause about 1.5-2.5 less CO2 production during manufacturing, use and waste processing compared to disposable swim nappies. This includes the washing of the reusable swim nappies
  • A typical disposable swim nappy weighs about 30g vs a reusable one at about 80g. When you compare this over the lifetime of usage, assuming an average of 50 “swims”, the amount of waste produced by paper disposable swim nappy will be about 20 times more!
  • With reusable swim nappies, soft nappy liners are available and specially designed to complete the double nappy system. After swimming, in the event of any little accidents, the nappy liner makes changing and cleaning much simpler. Simply remove the neoprene over nappy, undo the nappy wrap and flush away the soiled liner or if unsoiled just place in the bin. The fully biodegradable liner saves you money and saves the environment at the same time
  • Whilst on the face of it reusable swim nappies look more expensive, they typically work out about 4 times cheaper over the lifetime of usage
  • Going on holiday? One reusable nappy takes up a lot less space in the suitcase than a pack of 20!
  • The most recent update to a government study on the Life Cycle of Nappies, published by the UK’s Department for Environment, highlights that reusable swim nappies are circa 40% per cent better for the environment. And that doesn’t even take into account, the impact of landfill and soil contamination from disposable nappies

It goes without saying, disposable swim nappies are highly convenient and have their place, but with the focus on environmental issues, we highly recommend using a reusable swim nappy.

Choosing an over swim nappy (or Happy Nappy!)

neoprene swim nappy

The main purpose of the neoprene nappy that goes over the top of the swim nappy is to form a tight seal around your child’s midriff and thighs to ensure any leaks are contained! So when you are choosing sizes, make sure you buy the right size and not a larger one so they grow into it!

A correctly fitting neoprene nappy may feel like a bit of a struggle to get on the very first time but it is essential that it is a snug fit – the Lycra band must sit tight against the skin on both the legs and the waist, with no gaping. You should be able to fit a finger comfortably against your baby’s thigh in the leg opening, but no more. The neoprene nappy should be pulled right up to the top of your baby’s legs before you attempt to pull it up over the under-nappy and up to the waist.

There are a number of leading manufacturers of swim nappies in the UK. We recommend using Konfidence, we have partnered with them to be able to offer Konfidence voucher code on all their products. Follow the link for an exclusive 10% discount. Other leading swim nappies are Splashabout’s Happy Nappy, Zoggs Swim Sure Nappy and Speedo have launched a range too.

The waistband should sit quite high, over the belly button and completely cover the under-nappy. If you find that the nappy keeps slipping down then it either it is too big or the Lycra fibres in the waistband have deteriorated. Test it by softly pulling the waistband and letting go, it should immediately ping back and stay quite tight against the skin, if there is some looseness in the waist band or thigh bands then it is time to buy a new nappy.

See some tips below for keeping care of your neoprene swim nappy:

  • If you do need to wash the nappy (if it has been soiled) then wash at 30 Celsius with a weakened detergent
  • After every day use hand rinse the nappy in cold water straight after swimming to remove chlorine
  • Do not use fabric softener
  • Don’t tumble dry your nappy! They dry pretty quickly anyway
  • Don’t iron your nappy, the material doesn’t take well to heat from irons
  • If correctly cared for your neoprene nappy should last until your little one outgrows it, they are pretty good quality bits of kit

Always keep an eye out for signs that your child’s swim nappy is the right size (i.e. snug!), or if it is starting to show signs of wear and tear and therefore might replacing. If the neoprene nappy does not fit correctly or if the waistband/thigh bands have begun to degrade then it will not work effectively. And of course even the best nappy cannot replace your parenting skills, most important by far, if you suspect your baby or toddler might be soiling their nappy then get out of the water as soon as possible, check and perform a nappy change before getting back in the pool.

Common Myth about Swim Nappies

Swim nappies are not designed to hold in urine. They are designed to hold solids only, hence if your child is suffering from diarrhoea (or has been suffering from diarrhoea in the last 48 hours) you must not let your child enter the swimming pool.

Other Swim Nappy Considerations

  • Always remember to have a spare under nappy available when going for a swim. If you are using a reusable nappy, then you still need to remember a spare nappy line
  • Please remember to always take all your used nappies away with you, unless a clearly marked nappy bin has been provided by the pool venue. Please, never leave any nappies in an open-topped bin

Now you know the ins and out of baby swimming nappies, head over and check out our baby swimming checklist to see what else you need before you go swimming!