Keeping your little ones toosh protected AND helping the environment
It was always an exciting event for our family to introduce our babies to water play, whether that meant in a backyard sprinkler or a trip to the beach or pool. Sometimes that first experience was filled with laughter, and other times…not so much. Either way, all our bubs came to love being in the water.
Anytime we planned a beach adventure, reusable swim nappies were always on the packing list. Using regular diapers inevitably ends in a soggy mess, and this is easily avoidable with the right kind of baby swim diaper.
If you’re a new parent who is excited to introduce your infant to water play, we’re here to provide an extensive list of the Best Reusable Swim Diapers for the Beach, pool, or just an afternoon of sprinkler time.
This post is part of our baby travel advice series & tried & tested travel products
What to Look For in a Reusable Swim Diaper
Baby swim diapers are a beach time essential in our family because they can be used repeatedly and even passed down from child to child is cared for properly. This, of course, depends on the quality of the swim nappies you decided to go with and how often you use them.
You may be asking yourself, can’t I just have my baby go au natural? Well, we don’t really recommend it. The reason being, your baby’s skin is susceptible to irritants, and they can quickly develop a rash from sitting in the sand or grass. There’s also the increased possibility of sunburn on your baby’s most delicate areas, and this is a situation we’re sure you’d like to avoid.
We know the choices for any baby product out there are seemingly endless, so we’ve pulled together several common discussion points when it comes to considering reusable swim nappies.
Reusable Swim Diapers vs. Regular Diapers
The key difference between reusable swim diapers and regular diapers (and why you’ll want to invest in a few) is absorption. Regular diapers are made from materials that absorb liquids and expand as they are filled. If you put your baby in an ordinary diaper and set them in the water, their diaper will quickly puff up and become a heavy, soggy mess. This will be uncomfortable for your baby and ineffective for keeping poo and pee out of the water that other people are swimming in.
Reusable swim diapers, on the other hand, are made from materials that do not absorb liquids. They come in a range of sizes, just like regular diapers, and they are relatively easy to remove when wet. Most importantly, baby swim diapers prevent the spread of E. Coli from spreading throughout the water.
Disposable vs. Reusable Diapers
Environmental Impact: It’s common knowledge that disposable diapers are a significant contributor to landfill waste, and this, in turn, can negatively impact the environment. We’re not here to make you feel bad about your choice of disposable vs. reusable swim diapers, but it’s important to consider how often you’ll be using them.
For example, maybe you’ll only be buying a package of swim nappies each summer because they’re for a few vacations or pool outings. This would be a different scenario from living somewhere with a warmer climate that allows you and your family to spend much more time in the water. In that case, it would be wise to consider reusable diapers for both the reduced environmental impact and cost.
Cost Savings: As with regular diapers, the cost of baby swim diapers can add up over time. If you’re planning on quite a few days a year in the water, you’ll end up saving much more money in the long run by investing in several cloth swim diapers.
Features of a Good Reusable Swim Diaper
- Adjustability: Many reusable swim diapers can be adjusted to fit your growing baby, which is an added plus. Instead of purchasing a new one each swim season, you can continue to use the same one (You will likely need at least two different sizes though to complete see you through the diaper years).
- Material: Most baby swim diapers are made from similar material, such as polyester. It’s best to double-check that the diapers are machine-washable, especially since there is a strong likelihood your baby will poo in them at some point.
- Elasticity: It’s best to find cloth swim diapers that are neither too restrictive on your baby’s legs nor so loose that they let out waste while your little one is in the water. We recommend looking at each product’s size chart to ensure you’re getting the best-fitting diaper possible; if your baby has chunkier legs a size up may be preferred then adjust the waist fitting.
What About Poo?
It may not be anyone’s favorite topic of conversation, but it’s beneficial to everyone involved to know the best method for cleaning poo out of your baby’s swim diaper. As mums, we know those baby bowel movements are a fact of life, so it’s best to just get on with it.
Most of the time, your baby is unlikely to poo in their swim diaper for the short amount of time they’ll have it on. If this does occur, you can dispose of the waste in a nearby toilet, rinse the diaper out, and wash it with your regular clothes. (We do always take baby wets bags in our beach bag for this purpose).
And if they wee? Swim diapers, by their nature, don’t absorb liquids, so no brand of swim diaper can help you if your baby pees. It’s just one of those facts of life (and why swimming pools are heavily chlorinated!) Your baby swim diaper’s primary purpose is to stop the escape of faecal matter.
Best Reusable Swim Diapers
We’ve selected our top picks for Best Reusable Swim Diapers below, so read on for product features as well as a review of pros and cons.
|Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper||N to 3 (8 to 36 lbs) - 3 different size adjustments||Polyeseter shell, soft polyester mesh liner, machine washable|
|Splash About New and Improved Happy Nappy™ Swim Diapers||N to 24 Months (5 sizes)||Neoprene UPF50+|
|ALVABABY Swim Diapers||N to 24 Months (one size fits all)||Polyeseter shell,wicking liner, machine washable|
|i play. by green sprouts Boys' Baby Reusable Swim Diaper||6 months to 5T (7 sizes)||Polyeseter shell, soft interior, machine washable|
|Will & Fox Reusable Swim Diapers for Girls||N to 3T (3 sizes)||Polyeseter shell, soft stretchy silk and mesh lining, machine washable|
|Wegreeco Baby & Toddler Snap One Size Adjustable Reusable Baby Swim Diaper||Small 0 to 8 months (10 to 19 lbs), Large 9 months to 3 years (20 to 40 lbs)||Polyeseter shell, soft polyester mesh interior, machine washable|
Best Overall: Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper
Why We Love It: This baby swim diaper by Beau and Belle Littles is the epitome of cuteness and practicality. It’s adjustable from size N to 5 (8-36 lbs), so there’s no need to buy a new one each year. The 100% polyester shell has CPSIA-tested snaps that adjust around both the waist and legs.
Pros: This brand offers a wide variety of reusable swim nappies for both boys and girls. The inner shell is incredibly soft and comfortable, and it’s machine washable. The adjustable snaps allow your baby to wear the same one for several years in a row.
Cons: Some parents reported that after their baby wore the swim diaper for an extended period of time, it rubbed on baby’s legs and tummy. Make sure to check your baby’s comfort often.
Why We Love It: The most attractive feature of the Happy Nappy swim diapers is definitely the unique design that prevents any unwanted messes while in the water. They come in many cute designs and colors for both boys and girls, and the neoprene fabric creates a secure seal against leaks. The Happy Nappy is available in size N-24 months.
Pros: The neoprene material offers UPF50+ sun protection, and the Happy Nappy’s unique design is recommended or required in many swim schools in the US and UK. It’s an award-winning, trusted baby swim diaper that comes up far enough on your baby’s tummy to avoid any uncomfortable squeezing.
Cons: Although you can purchase the Happy Nappy swim diaper by itself, it’s most effective when you buy the entire Happy Nappy system, which means added cost. They are also hand wash only, which lessens the convenience factor a bit and you will need to purchase separate sizing for each age group (5 sizes), it will not last from baby to toddler years.
Another to try: ALVABABY Swim Diapers
Why We Love It: In our opinion, the best reusable swim diapers are ones that grow with your baby. These ALVABABY swim diapers are a less expensive alternative with adjustable snaps, allowing your baby to wear them from 0-2 years of age. These brightly colored swim diapers come in 2-and-3 packs, ensuring you’ll always have a spare.
Pros: The polyester outer shell and soft interior are specifically designed to contain solids, and they don’t absorb water. Your baby won’t be weighed down while in the water. The multi-packs have a wide selection of color choices for both boys and girls.
Cons: The sizing can be confusing, and it’s easy to accidentally order the wrong size if you’re not paying attention.
Just For Boys: i play. by green sprouts Boys’ Baby Reusable Swim Diaper
Why We Love It: These baby swim diapers for boys come in a seemingly endless array of colors and patterns from 6 months to 5T. The snaps on one side make it simple to take on and off.
Pros: The patented absorbent layers protect against accidents without getting weighed down. The soft polyester material is machine washable and easy to rinse clean.
Cons: Sizes start at six months, so these are not suitable for younger babies. The leg openings are also non-adjustable, meaning they won’t be a universal fit and can’t be worn again after one swim season.
Just For Girls: Will & Fox Reusable Swim Diapers for Girls
Why We Love It: These eye-catching, artist-designed cloth swim diapers are a gorgeous addition to your baby girl’s wardrobe. They’re adjustable from 0-3 years of age and are made from premium polyester, soft and stretchy silk, and have a deluxe mesh lining.
Pros: They grow with your baby, meaning you’ll only have to purchase a few to last for several swim seasons. The quick-drying fabric is also machine washable, and the elastic waist and leg bands prevent solids from escaping.
Cons: These reusable swim nappies run on the smaller side, so they may not last as long with some babies, depending on your baby’s size and weight.
Best Multi-Pack Option: Wegreeco Baby & Toddler Snap One Size Adjustable Reusable Baby Swim Diaper
Why We Love It: These adorable baby swim diapers come in a very reasonably priced package of three, and you can mix and match patterns and styles for multiple genders. They’re fully adjustable and come in Small (0-8 months) and Large (9 months – 3 years old).
Pros: Each style comes with adjustable snaps so that you can customize fit for your baby. The soft elastic retains solids and is gentle on your baby’s skin. They’re also machine washable, which is an added plus.
Cons: You have to double-check for correct fitting, as the diapers tend to retain extra water if they fit too tightly.
Once your baby is finished in the water, do pop them back in their regular diaper rather than keeping them in a swim diaper all day. And always take more than one! Accidents do happen and you’ll want a backup pair.
More Helpful Travel Gear for Baby & Toddler Travel
Before you set out on your next family vacation, you may also want to learn more about:
- 10 Baby Travel Essentials – we never leave home without these essential pieces of babykit (includes our complete downloadable baby travel checklist)
- The Best Compact Travel Strollers – so small you can even take them on the plane with you! Which brands really work and are accepted by the airlines?
- Portable High Chairs – are they really worth it? Our frank views on investing in a portable booster or high chair for eating and when it may come in handy on your travels
More Beach & Water Travel Advice
You may also be interested in more from the beach vacation section of our website, including:
- Our favourite toys for the beach – hand-selected favourites from over the years
- Swim vests & life jackets for toddler – flotation and learn to swim safety near the water
- Beach kids beach shoes – protect little feet on hot and sharp surfaces
- Our complete day at the beach packing list – ideal for the whole family, here’s exactly what you want to think about packing for your next family beach day of beach vacation [includes a handy downloadable packing list]
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