How to avoid swimming pool accidents

We’re not been having particularly successful swimming lessons the last couple of weeks.  N’s happy enough to go swimming (once I’ve told him that he has to go swimming or he’ll not get to go out on the farm!), and will sit on the side nicely waiting for our lesson.  But then once in the pool, he’ll not want to do any of the things he’s been able to do and been happy to do for the past year or so…diving in from the side to me, or holding on and then ‘jumping’ or reaching from the side and swimming to me.  So I’m hoping it’ll pick up again, as it’s driving me a little insane that he seems to have gone so far backwards…without having anything to trigger it. 

He did try a star float this week…which he then told me, ‘I tried a star float mummy, so I can go on the farm with daddy’.  Hmm, so much for the bribery.  Shame about the lack of trying in the rest of the lesson.

swimming happy nappy double nappy system

But I wanted to share swim nappy advice and why I feel so confident relieved that N will never be the cause of a pool shutting because of poo.  Yep, poo.  Delightful isn’t it, when you think of it in context of swimming. Bleurgh.  It’s quite often the first thing that parents are worried about on taking their child swimming are swimming pool accidents.  What do you put them in?

If you swim with Water Babies, or likely any of the similar baby swimming classes in private pools, the likelihood is, you’ll have to have your baby in a neoprene nappy as well as a standard swim nappy.  This is usually due to agreement with the pools – because who wants to risk baby poo escaping and requiring pools to shut while testing and cleaning them out.  

How does the double nappy system work?

double nappy system for swimming

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One neoprene nappy goes over the top of a disposable or reusable swim nappy.  The neoprene nappy is a tight over the legs and waist (the sizing is based on these rather than the actual age or size of the child – so N was still in a medium for longer than I expected even though the sizing suggested younger.  It all depends on the chunkiness.  The neoprene nappy needs to be above the top of the disposable nappy waist otherwise it’s not water tight and won’t keep anything in.

To me, it’s a great system.  It gave me confidence that if he pooed in the pool, we’d be able to get him out of the pool and changed without anything having escaped.  Even now, although he’s no longer in a disposable swim nappy underneath (Water Babies recommend waiting a while after potty training before getting rid of the under nappy), we’re still happily using his neoprene nappy as swim trunks.

They can be worn under normal swim suits or on their own as trunks, like we use them.  N now does own a pair of proper swim shorts which I would let him wear if he was on the beach or playing in a paddling pool, but in the pool I’ll be sticking with the happy nappy as long as they fit.  I don’t want to be the parent that closes the swimming pool, although at the moment N always wants to get out even to do a wee (annoying in a 30 minute lesson by the time you’ve got out, pulled wet neoprene nappy off and then back on again, but good that he’s aware and likes to use the toilet there).

I’ve always bought my neoprene nappy online or directly from Water Babies, but there’s lots of designs to choose from.  We always go classic as N has a plain rash vest to wear in the pool as well.  I always think he looks a bit of a toddler swimming pro, even if he really isn’t!

how to baby prevent swimming accidents.

What does your baby or child wear in the pool?


Disclosure: We swim with and blog for Water Babies. All words and opinions are our own. 

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  1. It’s interesting he likes to be on the farm so much, I usually can’t get my kids out of a pool. My kids are little fish, while you seem to have a little farmer. Does he actually help out and do chores?

  2. This is great advice as we always put two layers for both of my kids in the swimming each week. I never want to be the one that has the accident kid. Buba is potty trained and I am still too nervous to take him without a protective cover. lol Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    1. Same as me. I just don’t want to be the one mortified. Even with them, we used to worry when the kids were smaller babies. Thanks for stopping by

  3. I think that’s a great system!!
    We mostly take Arthur in the ocean swimming and so we just put him in little swim shorts with the little built in net type pants, whenever we do take him in the pool we usually put him in that too to be honest (think it would catch most things haha) but we used to use reusable swim nappies when he was a little younger and things were more squishy due to just having milk and no food!!!

    1. Definitely more concerning when they’re smaller babies. N is mildly lactose intolerant, but we didn’t know til 2.5yo, so his were dubious up til then. Thankfully water never seemed to make him go so that was always a relief.

      Nice to be able to swim in the ocean though. N’s never done that yet.

  4. I’ve never thought to use two layers as we don’t go swimming very often but this makes perfect sense! x

    1. I don’t know how good reusable swim nappies are, but the disposable ones aren’t that great, plus they say the size 5-6 goes up to 16kg+. They’ve been tight on N for a while now and he’s only 15kg, so these at least can last longer.

  5. My youngest is recently potty trained but I would definitely prefer the piece of mind of a neoprene nappy until we are 100% sure she wont have an accident.#sharewithme

    1. Same situation as us. He likes wearing them too as that’s what he’s used to. So there’s no arguing about it either which is handy.

  6. I’ve luckily never had to deal with a poo in the swimming pool incident and both my children are now out of nappies so I’m hoping I don’t have to worry about it (although I shouldn’t really tempt fate by saying this now should I?!) I’d not heard of this system of doubling up the nappies but it sounds like a good idea.

    1. I think unless you swim with specific baby swimming classes rather than local pool classes, then there’s unlikely to be knowledge about happy nappies and doubling up. Like you, we’ve never had an issue in the pool (or in the bath thankfully). I think some children are just more inclined than others.

  7. We’ve never used one of these, but luckily we never had any accidents in the pool! They look great though, handy for peace of mind whilst swimming and not having to worry about the embarrassment of, as you say, being ‘that’ parent! #sharewithme

  8. I’ve not heard of these before. Thankfully we are past that stage now with the littliest being totally toilet trained. I can remember being worried about accidents though, thankfully we didn’t have any.

    1. We’re the same. No accidents at all thankfully. Always were on tenterhooks when he was a baby though.

      The pool last week was closed due to a class of 5 year olds though, so not always down to the babies.

  9. great article as always Emma, as you know we do the double nappy thing too. Glad we still do the double nappy system it even now (even on holiday) that
    T is toilet trained as he still can have the odd accident especially when he is concentrating on something I’ve perfecting his star float (cough)! And as it happens it was just as well this year! .Thankfully all was contained and no embarrassment involved.. Imagine having to evaluate the pool on holiday or anywhere – pretty embarrassing right?

    1. Exactly, that would be my worst nightmare. Thankfully we’ve had no accidents to date. The other day when our lessons were all cancelled, it was due to a child in my youngest nephew’s class first thing. The child was asked if they needed to go to the loo and said no, but obviously did. A whole day of lessons cancelled – everyone having to be refunded. I’m not sure what the pool teacher does and whether they all get refunds – horrible for the businesses, awful for the kids in the pool at the time, and horrible for the child involved.

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