Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Changing Diapers = Education and Work

Using disposable diapers can be incredibly expensive and some families are struggling to juggle the costs of diapers and daily life.  Low-income families are often being forced to choose between buying food or diapers.  Parents are going to extremes to stretch a package of diapers.  They are adopting risky practices such as keeping kids in the same diaper for very long periods of time, cleaning out poopy diapers to reuse them, or even blow-drying a soiled disposable diaper for reuse.  Practices such as these are incredibly unhealthy and dangerous for the child.  The owner of Cotton Babies commented on these practices, and mentioned a local family whose child almost died of an infection after reuse of a disposable diaper.  Studies have found that 1 in 3 American families has had to cut back on food, utilities, or child care, to afford disposable diapers.  The sale of diaper rash ointment increased 8% in 2010, as parents left soiled diapers on children for longer periods of time in order to save money.
Image and statistics from

With this frustrating scenario, we are left searching for an affordable and safe alternative to disposable diapers.  Welcome cloth diapers.  Cloth diapering is something any family can do on any budget.  If you can't afford to buy cloth diapers, you can cloth diaper your child with common household items (such as old towels, t-shirts, or receiving blankets from the hospital).  You can also purchase a diaper cover that will create a waterproof barrier for as little as $5.  If you can afford it, you could purchase prefold cloth diapers and diaper your child from birth to potty training for $100 using the EconoBum system.  You can also find used cloth diapers on Craig's List, Ebay, at local "Fluff again" events, etc.

  • If you don't have a washing machine, see my post on how to wash diapers without a washing machine. 
  • If your child attends daycare, see my posts for ideas on talking to your daycare about using cloth diapers and how to use cloth diapers at daycare.
It saddens me that people are resorting to unsafe practices when inexpensive alternatives to disposable diapers exist.  We need to educate people about the benefits associated with cloth diapering, and this was the inspiration behind an annual event called the "Flats and Hand washing Challenge". If you are a family struggling to feed your family and diaper a child, please consider cloth diapers.  Don't reuse disposable diapers.  If you are in a desperate situation please find a local diaper bank where you can get free disposable diapers.  Please help spread the word, and let's work together to keep our children safe and healthy.

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