Cloth Diapers and Child Care
Selecting a child care program can be a trying experience for parents. They feel guilty about
leaving their child in the care of others. They also are concerned about the quality of care
their child will get. What is more, parents worry that the child care program may not accept
cloth diapers, or only use them reluctantly.
The foremost concern of all parents is their child’s health
On their part, a parent who wants them to use cloth diapers can be intimidating for child care
providers. They may worry that the diapers will be difficult or inconvenient to use, or will
constantly leak. They may be unsure how to dispose of soiled cloth diapers. Care providers
can be reluctant to talk to parents on these issues.
The baby’s health counts above everything else
Parents may want to use cloth diaper for various reasons. In the cloth vs. disposables debate,
economy and environmental concerns are the usual arguments. However, the foremost
concern of all parents is their child’s health.
When it comes to promoting sanitary conditions, the diapering practice is more
important than the actual type of diapers used.
Oddly enough, it is concern for the baby’s health that makes many child care programs
unwilling to use organic diapers. People think cloth diapers are inconvenient to use and even
that they are unsanitary. There is enough proof that this isn’t so. If the child care program’s
diaper-changing procedures are followed, cloth diapering can easily be used without
compromise of hygiene.
How you change the diapers is what matters
A diaper must be able to hold the liquids and solids with the least contamination of the baby,
its caregivers, its surroundings and the things around the baby. Both disposable and cloth
diapers meet this requirement. Among the new hybrid diaper systems, the All in One and
Pocket styles may be the best choices. When it comes to promoting sanitary conditions, the
diapering practice is more important than the actual type of diapers used.
Child care programs have diaper changing procedures meeting state or county regulations.
These are framed so as to minimize illnesses, particularly those of the small intestine, by
promoting healthy and sanitary conditions. Because the majority of small intestine illnesses
in the child care setting are spread by contamination, proper sanitation procedures are
essential to stop the spread of diseases.
Rules about diaper changes may differ but a good diaper changing policy must always
Caregivers washing their hands, both before and after diaper change
A dedicated space used only for diaper changes, with a hard, washable surface and
close to a sink that is not used for food preparation
Hygienic disposal of paper diapers or storage of cloth diapers in an covered container
Washing and disinfecting the changing surface after every use
Washing the baby’s hands after diaper change
The baby should always wear clothing over diapers
Some programs also use a disposable barrier like a waterproof pad under the child’s bare
bottom and require that their staff wear disposable gloves during the diaper changes for added
protection against fecal contamination. This is not necessary as long as hands are properly
washed and surfaces thoroughly washed and disinfected.
Child care providers should make themselves familiar with the cloth diaper system
Every child care may or may not follow diaper changing procedures that are necessarily
sanitary. Some unregulated providers may change diapers on the bed, couch or floor,
surrounded by other children. Check with your child care providers what their diaper
changing procedures are.
Cloth diapers and child care
If you would like the child care program to use cloth, you would better get to know the local
rules and regulations about baby cloth diapering in child care settings. Ask your local
authorities for a copy of the child care regulations. Go for an easy to use system of cloth
diapers and talk to your baby’s care provider about how to use them. Do show appreciation
for the child care provider’s willingness to step out of her comfort zone. A simple “Thank
you” can go a long way.
Child care providers should make themselves familiar with the cloth diaper system presented
by the parents.
Ask any questions you may have and share your concerns and difficulties. If you keep an
open mind, you can enjoy the bright colors and soft feel of cloth diapers in contrast to the
harsh and drab alternatives of the child care center.
The type of diaper used is not as important, as a proper diaper changing procedure. Handled
properly, both cloth and disposable diapers can be equally convenient and hygienic. It is easy
to see that cloth diapers and child care do go together.