Tips for Using Swim Diapers

Key points

  • Research shows that even though swim diapers and swim pants might hold in some solid feces (poop), they are not leak-proof.
  • Swim diapers can delay diarrhea-causing germs, like Cryptosporidium, from leaking into the water for a few minutes, but swim diapers do not keep these germs from contaminating the water.
Mother in swimming pool holding baby that is wearing a swim diaper.


Swim diapers and swim pants may help hold in solid poop (not diarrhea), but they are not a substitute for frequent diaper changing and bathroom breaks. Swim diapers do not keep germs, like Cryptosporidium, that can be spread in diarrhea from contaminating the water. Swim diapers and swim pants should be checked frequently and changed away from the poolside. Regularly changing swim diapers can also reduce the amount of urine in the pool. Urine uses up chlorine that otherwise would kill germs. It also binds with chlorine and creates irritants in the air.

Diarrhea and Swimming Don't Mix‎

Anyone who is sick with diarrhea—whether they use swim diapers, swim pants, or not—should stay out of the water. Swimmers sick with diarrhea risk contaminating the pool with germs that can make others sick.



  • Do not let children swim when they are sick with diarrhea.
  • Frequently check swim diapers and swim pants (about every 60 minutes) and change them in a diaper-changing area—away from the poolside.
  • Wash hands after diaper/pants changing to prevent the spread of germs in and around the pool.

Pool Operators

  • Ensure that caregivers follow these tips to help prevent germs from spreading at the pool.