Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Diapers


Some controversy has built up in the past few years over which is more ecologically sound—cloth diapers or paper diapers. Paper diapers in landfills take more than one hundred years to deteriorate. If the plastic lining is removed, it is believed that the paper will deteriorate only weeks faster than the diaper left intact. Effective recycling of paper diapers does not yet exist, and it may be years before the material can be sanitized to the point of recyclability.

Cloth diapers, on the other hand, require strong soaps and chemicals to clean. To insure the sterility and whiteness of the cloth, bleach and harsh detergents are used. These go into the water supply and affect the plant and animal life. The energy used for hot water to wash the diapers also adds to the environmental cost.

Many parents try to use paper diapers only while traveling or in places where having a soiled diaper to carry or clean would be extremely inconvenient. This infrequent use of paper diapers allows for the occasional convenience of the throwaway while reducing paper waste.

Some parents believe that cloth diapers cause more diaper rash; other parents believe that the sealed paper diaper causes more diaper rash. The biggest cause of diaper rash is excessive moisture against the baby's skin, which can be avoided by frequent diaper changes, for whatever diaper used. Excessive use of powders and creams can also increase the problem because of the pasty substance that forms when these encounter moisture.

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