In your fervor to keep the planet clean and green for future generations, you have probably gone tog reat lengths to purchase eco-friendly baby products that are just as good for the planet as they are for the health of your child. You may have a crib and changing table made with bamboo and sealed with no-VOC paint. You probably have bedding and clothes made from organic cotton. And you’ve certainly made sure they’re ingesting only organic, free-range baby food. And yet, even parents who are on a mission to save the Earth from the pollutants its inhabitants seem determined to spew may find it hard to contemplate the switch to cloth diapers. Despite the fact that our landfills are bombarded with 18 billion non-recyclable disposable diapers each year, the thought of washing cloth diapers is repugnant to most people. However, opting for cloth is not as difficult an undertaking as one might think, and it’s not only the better choice for the planet, it’s a much healthier option for your baby.
For starters, cloth diapers are pretty easy to clean. You simply rinse them and throw them in the wash. Or if you find it too difficult to do what generations of women before you did by hand, then simply enlist the aid of a diaper-cleaning laundry service. Tossing them in a pail for weekly pick up is just as easy as throwing them in the wastebasket, so you really can’t complain. But even beyond the ease-of-use issue, there is the health of your child to be considered (and not just a nebulous future where the planet is a virtual dumping-ground of diapers). Cloth is, quite simply, a lot healthier for your child, and it has everything to do with how diapers are made.
Cloth diapers, as you may have guessed, are made of cloth (generally several layers of cotton). That’s it. No additives, preservatives, or toxins. They are soft, comfortable, and breathable and as long as you change them frequently and wash and sanitize them thoroughly, your baby shouldn’t suffer any adverse effects from usage. Disposable diapers are another matter entirely. They are made from plastics and synthetic fibers, not to mention freaky hydrophilic polymers that trap your child’s urine and turn it into a jelly-like substance. On top of that, they are saturated with chemicals and byproducts like bleaches, dyes, and fragrances. All of this can add up to a lot of irritation for your child, in the form of diaper rash, chemical burns, and even toxic shock syndrome in severe cases. Of course, mild allergic reactions are much more common, but do you really want to expose your baby to any of these possible outcomes?
In the long run, cloth diapers are not only better for the environment; they’re also a lot better for your child. And with modern advances making them more absorbent, cleaning services to remove the burden of washing, and the always important issue of lower cost (not to mention the re-usable factor) to make them more attractive, there’s really no reason at all to choose disposable.
Kyle Simpson is a writer for Cloth Diapers. The website is devoted to educating parents on the benefits, both eco and health related of cloth diapers for your baby.