Infant and toddler swim pants are no better at keeping poo out of the pool than a regular nappy, health experts have warned.

Biochemistry specialist Professor Una Ryan said although swim nappies may keep some solids in, at a microscopic level they acted “like a poo tea bag in water”.

“They don’t work, they don’t work at all — they may be a bit better than a regular nappy, but they release faecal matter into the pool,” Prof Ryan said, adding that ­recent studies showed most pools had at least one “accidental faecal release” every week in summer, reports Daily Telegraph.

“The way many of these germs are spread from person to person in swimming pool water is via faecal transmission — in other words by people swallowing water that’s had poo in it,” Prof Ryan said.

While baby swim pants may give parents a false sense of security, “you could fit millions and millions of the parasite on the head of a pin so, no, they won’t stop cryptosporidium otocysts entering the pool,” Prof Ryan said, adding that people also did not realise how much water they swallowed when swimming.

Dr Jeremy McAnulty, director of health protection at NSW Health, said parents should not let their children into a pool for two weeks after suffering diarrhoea.

Read more – Warning issued by authorities telling people to re-think that visit to the local pool!

Share your comments below

  • Swimming schools start swimming lessons for babies as a very young age now. Some can float and do some strokes before they are out of nappies completely


  • Oh so would Dr Jeremy like to ban all babies (and anyone else who might use a swim nappy – eg some people with disabilities) from ever swimming in a pool? Most parents get out and change their baby pretty quick if they do do a poo in the swim nappy! What is his proposed solution? Other than banning anyone who wears a swim nappy and also anyone who has had diarrhoea in the last 2 weeks from swimming?
    Very uninformative article in my opinion – of course swim nappies don’t contain the urine or liquid waste! They contain most of the solid waste though!


  • Ick, and yep we’ve been swimming in this heat and now I’m sure it’s in poo! Not sick so feel we’ve dodged a bullet.


  • If your child is learning to swim, then it should have also learned toilet control.


  • Oh dear, this is quite off putting.


  • We used them only for swimming lessons, and not even all the time. They encourage swimming lessons from 6 months, so consider what a baby of that age will do when they feel water on their bum!!


  • Yuck. The only difference between the swim nappies and the regular ones is that the swim nappies don’t absorb the water and end up exploding in a jelly mess!


  • Grosse! I am paranoid already with all the germs at public pools. After reading this I never want to go again!!


  • Makes you rethink going to a public pool

    • We still do – chemicals and cleaning do wonders! :)


  • Now the kids are more grown up I ‘m always glad when they have a ‘toddler pool’ separate from the one you can actually swim in! The concentration of urine/poo etc. is also important; you are bound to get some microscopic ‘remains’ (even from the bottoms of adults), but spread out through the water so that you’d be very unlucky to ingest the fraction of droplets that actually have contaminants.


  • Wow, this makes me think twice about going swimming. It makes me think about how many germs are in the water.


  • I was never convinced that they would work but used them with both my girls for swimming lessons because it was compulsory before we were allowed in the pool. I stopped using them as soon as they were toilet trained. Never had any poo related incidents thankfully but I assume a lot of wee related ones now after reading this article!


  • Swim nappies don’t hold urine either I had to use one in an emergency because we were out and they were all i had left in the nappy bag at the end of the day and my daughter wet straight through them. You can then imagine all the children in the toddler pool using them would be leaking into the pool yuk!


  • Oh…so No swimming then?


  • It just makes sense to me that nappies do not contain everything!


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