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Cloth Diapers in Child Care Centres – Are you Prepared?

Nicole Lindahl BHSc(PH), CPHI(C)

One of the numerous decisions that new parents face is whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. Some factors that come into play when making this decision are ease of use, skin sensitivities, environmental impact, and cost. If parents make the decision to bring cloth diapers into your facility, ensure that you are prepared by developing a policy which includes the following infection control measures:

  • Used liners should not be handled, and must remain with diaper.
  • Soiled cloth diapers should be stored in a manner that prevents any contact with or contamination of the child care environment (i.e. diapers bagged and stored in a container with a lid).
  • Parents should provide ‘wet bags’ or their own place for the used diapers to go, and must be sent home at the end of each day.
  • Proper hand hygiene must be exercised as per usual.
  • If needed, cloth diaper use should be discontinued during an outbreak situation.
  • Soiled diapers must not be scraped, shaken out, or rinsed/cleaned in the childcare setting. However, formed stool may be released into a toilet if it can be done so with ease.
  • Clean cloth diapers must be stored in a sanitary manner.
  • Outer coverings should be made of a material that is waterproof, in good condition, and fits snugly in order to prevent leakage of urine or stool.

You may recognize disadvantages to allowing cloth diaper usage in your facility, including ease of use, the smell, and storage of used diapers. Having a policy and procedure in place regarding the use of cloth diapers will help make the transition from home to a child care setting smoother for parents, and help control the spread of illness.

Did you know?

When handled properly, cloth diapers do not increase the risk of spreading communicable diseases. The key is proper storage, hand hygiene, and environmental cleaning.

Reference: Khan, P. Cloth Diapers in Child Care Centres – To Use or Not to Use, The WEE CARE Newsletter, Available from: [Accessed 22nd November 2016].