Swim diapers

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by Stephan J. Smith, DC

If you frequent a swimming pool where parents may have babies in the water, you’re likely to see swim diapers. These diapers were developed with the idea that they are absorbent enough to prevent leakage into the water, but most public pools don’t allow them. Even thought the legs have elastic, there is no guarantee that the contents of the diaper; liquid and solid, can’t make it out into the pool water.

Reuseable swim diaper

We all laughed at the scene in the movie Caddyshack when Bill Murray’s character plucked the Baby Ruth out of the swimming pool and took a bite. Truth is, fecal matter in the pool water is nothing to laugh at. Many types of microorganisms are found in feces, such as the bacteria Cryptosporidium and e. Coli, as well as the Rotavirus. Though proper levels of pool sanitizer kills these microorganisms, it can take time. Swim diapers at the very least keep the solids inside, but their true ability to keep liquids in is questionable, and if anything fecal leaks into the pool, it can take many hours for the microorganisms to die. In the meantime, even a swallowed mouthful of contaminated water can make you sick.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) list these Six Steps for Healthy Swimming:

Three Steps for All Swimmers

Keep germs from causing recreational water illnesses (RWIs):

  • Don’t swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
  • Don’t swallow the pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
  • Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.

Three Steps for Parents of Young Kids

Keep germs out of the pool:

  • Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often. Waiting to hear “I have to go” may mean that it’s too late.
  • Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.
  • Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.

With these simple steps, you can have fun and keep yourself from being sidelined by illness.

Guest post by Dr. Stephan J. Smith. Dr. Smith is a wellness expert and Chiropractor in Brighton, Michigan. Along with Dr. Vladimir J. Brajak, he co-owns Advantage Family Chiropractic and is available to speak to your group, organization or company on several popular wellness topics. For more information or to schedule a talk local to Brighton, contact us at 810-288-5823.