Beware of Swim Diaper Clad Babies in the Pool


My pool and spa business serviced an account that taught babies how to swim.  But try as we might, the water in his above ground swimming pool was a nightmare.  Why?  Here’s the math:

10 Babies in 10 Swim Diapers = A Sanitary Nightmare

Oh yeah, the owner, a retired hippy (so am I, so that’s okay)  requested minimal amounts of chlorine to treat this baby-diaper bacteria fest.

Yes, swim diapers help slow down the release of disease-causing germs, but only for a short time.  In fact, the common cause of a recreational water illness (RWI) is cryptosporidium (crypto). You don’t want it visiting your innards, especially if you are a little kid, or pregnant, or have a weakened immune system.

Crypto is the single largest threat to pool users.  Where does it come from? D-I-A-R-R-H-E-A.   (Just another reason why you will never catch me in a public swimming pool—even if climate change gives summer  3 months of 3-digit heat.)

One would hope that if one is suffering from such a poopy circumstance, that one would have the common sense to stay out of a swimming pool.  One would hope.  Babies, on the other hand, are just kind of a runny mess anyway, if you get my drift.

Here’s the dope:  Researchers measured the amount of microsphere that released from swim diapers worn by children.  The microspheres were plastic particles that have a similar size 9five microns) to that of crypto.  Normal swim trunks, common disposable diapers and reusable diapers with and without vinyl diaper covers were tested.  Swimming trunks without a swim diaper of any kind had the poorest performance; almost 90% of the microspheres were released into the water within one minute. YUCKY.

Swim diapers released at least 50% of the microspheres within one minute. Placement of a vinyl diaper cover over a disposable swim diaper slightly improved performance.  But, in all cases, 25% or more of the microspheres were detected in the water within two minutes.

Here’s the kicker:  “When a fecal accident contains about a billion disease-causing crypto oocysts, hundreds of millions of oocysts get into the water within minutes.  The retention of diarrhea in swim diapers is very short-lived.  Swimmers only need to ingest about 10 crypto oocysts to become infected,” said Dr. James Amburgey, one of the researchers from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

BTW, crypto can’t be seen by the naked eye and it’s “highly” resistant to chlorine.

(Thanks to a back issue of The IPSSAN for this story.)

Published by Charmaine Coimbra

Reporter, journalist and author who has owned and operated a bookstore, a pool and spa full service business, an apple farm, and is now committed to environmental issues. She has written four books: The Gathering Basket, Connection with 48 Natural Contemplations, Seek Beauty, Find Joy: a Companion Journal to Natural Contemplations; and children's book, Isu Learns to Swim.

One thought on “Beware of Swim Diaper Clad Babies in the Pool

  1. Wow, as a pool owner for more than 20 years, I am stunned with this information. I look back on all the kids and diapers in the pool, and to think I never even thought of this risk! So what’s the answer? To never let the grandkids swim? I wish you’d do a follow up article with more info. Very informative article.

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