For those who love to swim, incontinence can seem like an unforgiving burden. Normal adult incontinence products just don’t cut it, you think to yourself. However, there are many different incontinence products that exist on the market that are designed specifically for swimming and other water activities. Today, we’ll look at how swim diapers work (how they’re different from normal incontinence products), the differences between disposable and reusable swim diapers (advantages and disadvantages of each), different deciding factors when going to purchase a swim diaper, and our top picks for swim diapers that seniors can choose from so you or your loved one can enjoy the little things in life again.
How Swim Diapers Work
Before making a selection, it may be helpful to understand how swim diapers work, and the key differences between a normal diaper and a diaper meant for swimming activities.
Regular adult diapers are purely meant to absorb liquids and solids and are meant to be worn in dry environments. They are high on the absorbency scale, because they absorb both urine incontinence and fecal incontinence. Swim diapers, on the other hand, are really heavy duty versions of normal diapers in that they are designed specifically to withstand the force and liquidity of water. Their main purpose is to hold solids inside so that water doesn’t become contaminated with harmful bacteria. However, if you’re experiencing diarrhea or less-than-solid bowel movements, it may be best to let that pass before hopping in the water, even with a swim diaper on.
There are a few key differences between a regular diaper and a swim diaper that may help you get a firm grasp on the importance of wearing a swim diaper for swimming. For starters, if you hop into the water wearing a regular diaper, you’ll notice that you’re going to start feeling really heavy and weighed down. This is because normal diapers don’t resist water absorption- they soak up everything they come into contact with. On the other hand, swim diapers are meant to let liquids flow freely around, so they are low on the absorbency scale. Because of this, you won’t notice that heavy feeling. Swim diapers are also easy to put on and take off once you’re done with them- unlike normal diapers that get soggy and uncomfortable when they’re soaked with liquids. A final difference between a normal diaper and a swim diaper is that regular diapers tend to come apart once full– meaning feces and any other solids will be released into the pool if heavy enough.
Differences Between Disposable and Reusable Swim Diapers
There are really only two main types of swim diapers out there- disposable swim diapers and reusable swim diapers. A disposable swim diaper is a diaper that is meant to be thrown away after one use, whereas a reusable swim diaper can be washed and sanitized after each use. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of each, including situations in which it would be better to use one over the other.
Advantages of Using a Disposable Swim Diaper
One of the biggest advantages of using a disposable swim diaper is that you won’t have to worry about cleaning the diaper after you’re done using it. You simply take it off, ensure it isn’t leaking, dispose of it in the proper receptacles, wash your hands, and boom, you can go about the rest of your day now. Another advantage to using disposable swim diapers is that you can keep a diaper in many convenient locations, so you won’t have to try to remember where one singular diaper is. Whether it be keeping an extra diaper in a locker room at a swimming pool or keeping an extra diaper in your car, having multiple disposable diapers can be of great assistance in times of need.
Advantages of Using a Reusable Swim Diaper
Right off the bat, one of the biggest advantages to using a reusable swim diaper is that you won’t have to keep buying swim diapers once you’re done using them. Simply empty the solids into the proper receptacle, toss the used diaper in the wash, and you’ve got a brand new diaper for a fraction of the price that it costs to keep repurchasing disposable diapers. Another advantage to using a reusable swim diaper is that they may be more comfortable than a disposable diaper. Swim diapers that are reusable are made of two layers, one of which includes a cottony-inside layer that may be more pleasant to have rubbing against your skin.
Disadvantages to Using a Disposable Swim Diaper
There are a few main disadvantages to using a disposable swim diaper over a reusable one. One disadvantage is that the materials disposable swim diapers are made from tend to snag easily– so if you run into something or your diaper gets caught on something, its contents run the risk of spilling out into the water. Another slight disadvantage to using a disposable swim diapers is that you have to keep buying them. Although a pack of disposable diapers can be cheaper than a reusable diaper, the money adds up over time, and depending on how often you like to swim, it may become costly to keep purchasing disposable swim diapers.
Disadvantages of Using a Reusable Swim Diaper
There are really only a few minor disadvantages to using a reusable swim diaper, and depending on the person, these things might not even be disadvantages! One thing to factor into using a reusable swim diaper is that you’ll ultimately use more water. You have to flush solids down the toilet, and after that, you have to wash the diaper in the washer. Whereas with disposable diapers, it’s a one and done deal. Once you finish swimming for the day, throw away the diaper. Another possible disadvantage is that you’ll have to do more laundry with reusable swim diapers. Similar to the previous disadvantage, anything reusable requires more laundry time, which some may not like doing.
Overall, whether or not you purchase a reusable swim diaper or set of disposable swim diapers is up to you. It all really depends on personal preference!
What To Look For in a Swim Diaper
There are many factors that play into your decision on which swim diaper you should purchase. This list highlights some factors to consider and what to look for when browsing different swim diapers.
Type of Swim Diaper
One thing to look for in a swim diaper is its type. You can choose either a reusable swim diaper or a disposable swim diaper. As discussed above, they both have their advantages and disadvantages, so it really is up to you on which type you’d like to go with. If you don’t like the feeling of a cloth diaper, you’ll probably want to choose a disposable option. If you plan on swimming a lot or going and sitting in bodies of water for an extended amount of time, you may opt for a reusable swim diaper. Just remember- do not choose a regular diaper option. These will not work!
Comfortability of the Diaper
The comfortability of a swim diaper is another huge factor you’ll want to consider before making your purchase. If a diaper is too big or small, too soft or hard, it could all result in you not being comfortable while you’re swimming. You’ll also want to keep in mind that the swim diaper you choose will function similar to underwear- you’re going to want to wear it underneath your bathing suit to get the most use out of it.
How You Wear the Swim Diaper
In addition to the comfortability of the swim diaper, you’re going to want to look at how you wear it. As touched on previously, it’s recommended you wear it underneath your bathing suit, but what you may not know is that there are different designs for how you put the diaper on. Some are fairly easy- you just slip them on and you’re good to go. That design is one of the most widely used; in fact, it’s even used in diapers with little swimmers such as Huggies Little Swimmers. Another common design that’s used is pulling the diaper up and fastening it with fasteners on either side- which are usually a self-adhesive material. This design also makes for easy removal- simply unlatch the fasteners and slide them off. Again, it usually all depends on your personal preference for what you wish to do!
Durability of the Diaper
Another factor you may wish to consider is the durability of the swim diaper. If you experience heavy incontinence, you may want to look for swim diapers that are meant specifically for that function. However, if you have more normal levels of bowel incontinence, then most types or brands of swim diapers will work just fine.
Also along these lines, if you are going to spend an extended amount of time in the water, then you may want to consider getting some reusable swim diapers. Many reusable styles are meant to last many months or even a year or more, but with disposable diapers, you’ll have to wear a new one each time you go to the swimming pool. But if you don’t go swimming that often, then you may be just fine purchasing disposable swim diapers.
Breathability of the Diaper
The breathability of a swim diaper is another factor you’ll likely want to consider before making your decision. If you purchase a swim diaper and don’t feel like you can easily move around and are generally uncomfortable, you may want to choose another option. This in part has a lot to do with what materials the diaper is made with, which we’ll talk about next.
Materials the Diaper Is Constructed With
This is probably one of the most important factors you’ll want to consider before making a swim diaper purchase. Swim diapers are made out of a variety of different materials, which vary even more whether you choose a reusable swim diaper or a disposable one. Disposable swim diapers tend to be made with an inner layer meant to absorb fecal matter (so it does not leak into the pool water) and an outer layer that is made out of more cloth material. Depending on the brand, disposable swim diapers may be a little more uncomfortable to wear, especially around the leg cuffs or waistband.
Reusable swim diapers are made with either a mesh cloth or nylon inside to catch any fecal incontinence and usually are made with a polyurethane or similar material on the outside. Some swim diapers are made with latex material as well, so if you have a latex allergy, then you may want to look for options that explicitly state there’s no latex made with them.
Size of the Swim Diaper
This is probably the most important factor on our list of what to look for in a swim diaper. Sizing is really important to nail down, and for good reason! If you purchase a swim diaper that is too small, you run the risk of being uncomfortable and experiencing rubbing or chafing. However, if you purchase a swim diaper that’s too big, you run the risk of the diaper sliding off or leaking into the swimming pool.
As a general rule of thumb, make sure you take your hip and waist measurements before looking for the right size. Usually, manufacturers have sizing guides to help you find the right fit for you depending on your specific measurements.
Our Top Swim Diaper Picks
Now that you’ve got a better idea of what swim diapers are, what purposes they serve, and different factors to look out for when going to purchase one, let’s take a look at some of our top swim diaper picks.
Swimmates Disposable Adult Swim Diapers
Swimmates Disposable Adult Swim Diapers is our first option. If you’re looking for a top rated disposable diaper option, this one is perfect for you. It is latex free, so there’s no need to worry about any allergic reactions you may have. It also has specifically designed inner leg cuffs for comfort as well as an easy tear-away mechanism for removing the swim diaper once you’re finished. The small pack of swim diapers comes in 22 diapers purchasable for $18.69 on Amazon.
Adult Swim Diapers – Black Reusable Diaper for the Pool
This next option is Swimster’s black reusable swim diaper meant for a large waist. It fits waists that range from sizes 36-44 inches, embodying a wide variety of sizing. The black color makes it easy to hide underneath a bathing suit, and the flexible nylon material doesn’t make any sounds when walking or swimming, so it remains fairly undetectable. This reusable swim diaper comes in a 1 pack for $28.95 on Amazon and is good for hundreds of uses if taken care of properly.
Kiefer Adult Swim Diaper
The Kiefer Adult Swim Diaper is another reusable option for swim diapers. Its sleek design is made to be worn underneath a bathing suit or by itself. It may be nerve wracking to wear a swim diaper on its own, but the design of this model makes it not even look like a swim diaper. It is lined with polyester material and is even stain resistant, so there’s no need to worry about having to get stains out when you go to wash it. The sizing of this reusable swim diaper varies from small to xxl, and the pricing starts at a low price of $22.27 on Amazon.
Adult Swim Diapers – Pink Reusable Diaper for the Pool
My Pool Pal’s Pink Reusable Swim Diaper is an excellent option for those who have larger waists and want a reusable swim diaper. It fits waists ranging from 36-44 inches and legs 21-27 inches. The elastic material makes the waistband and the leg holes comfortable, providing you comfort and security in knowing that you will not experience any leaks. This bright pink color can be worn alone or underneath another bathing suit- it doesn’t even look like a swim diaper. You can find this size option on Amazon for $28.95.
Sosecure Resuable Swim Brief Diaper
The Sosecure reusable swimming brief is one of the more expensive options available, but is also one of the higher quality swim briefs. It is made out of a thick polyurethane material that absorbs all fecal incontinence while providing just enough support and comfort for you. It can be worn underneath a bathing suit and won’t crinkle or make any noise. This large size, which fits those who have a waist size of 33-36 inches can be found on Amazon for $38.75.
There’s a lot to consider when deciding to purchase a swim diaper. However, there are many options out there and helpful guides that make your decisions effortless and as pain-free as possible. You don’t have to give up your love of swimming for incontinence- there’s surely an option perfect for you out there!