One of the big decisions a parent of a newborn must make is addressing the issue of what type of diapers to use. Does one choose the convenience of disposables or the economy of reusable cloth diapers? The decision is a personal one that largely depends on the lifestyle, budget, and belief system of the family with no absolute right or wrong answer. Since cloth products have changed and improved considerably in the past few years, it pays for parents of a new baby to take another look to compare both options in order to make the best decision for their baby and themselves.
An issue of great importance to most young families is cost. In this area, cloth is the clear and obvious winner. Though the initial cost of these may seem high, depending on the type chosen, the cost overall from newborn through to potty training is a mere fraction of the cost of disposable diapers. Compare the average cost that most families spend for cloth of $ 350 to $ 500 to the cost of disposables that can exceed $ 2500 (8 per day priced at $ 0.30 each) over a three year period. Cloth diapers show a savings of over $ 2000. The savings are even higher when those same quality cloth diapers are reused for a subsequent baby.
Many parents choose over disposables as a superior choice for the health of their babies. Super absorbent disposables contain chemicals linked to allergic reactions and sodium polyacrylate which has been implicated in Toxic Shock Syndrome. A recent study showed that only 8% of cloth diapered babies suffered from rash as compared to 78% of babies who wore disposable.
Environmentally, cloth is the obvious winners as well. It is estimated that it takes a disposable some 500 years to decompose with a figure of 18 billion disposable diapers entering our already over stretched landfills each and every year. It also requires an enormous amount of energy and resources to produce, package, and transport those billions used and discarded every year.
The one department in which disposable diapers win is convenience. They are easy to use, do not require washing, and are portable making them great for traveling. A compromise many families make is to use cloth diapers for every day with a small supply of disposables on hand for days away from home where cloth changes are more inconvenient. That approach can take advantage of the best of both.
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