1. You don’t mind if your infant gets a chemical burn. As Michigan mom Cathy Valentine told Reuters, her four-month old daughter’s skin turned pink and started blistering and bleeding from using plastic diapers. A pediatrician diagnosed the angry red rash as a chemical burn. American parents believe that all babies get diaper rash. This simply is not true. The super absorbent chemicals in plastic diapers often irritate an infant’s sensitive skin. P&G, which makes Pampers, has a long and unfortunate history of ignoring product safety and belittling parents who speak out against their diapers at the benefit of profits.
2. You don’t want your baby to be the cutest on the block. Cloth diapers are reusable and adorable. Disposable diapers are chemical-laden single-use products that create foul-smelling trash. This cloth-diapered cutie is opening the morning mail from his dad, who was stationed overseas.
3. You’d rather buckle your baby in the car and drive to the store to buy more diapers than do a load of laundry. The number one killer of children in the United States according to the CDC? Injuries due to accidents like car crashes.
4. You don’t want to have any stylish custom-made diapers for your baby.
5. You don’t care about killing trees. Every year at least 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks, and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby, according to this report.
6. You don’t mind the smell of plastic off-gassing each time you open a new package of plastic diapers.
7. You have all the money in the world. The Real Diaper Association has detailed calculations about savings from not using disposable diapers and concludes that plastic diapers cost parents nearly ten times as much as cloth.
8. You don’t want soft real cloth next to your baby’s most private parts, you’d rather have something plastic that is advertised as cloth-like. “Protect your little miracle with blanket-like softness” is one of Pampers’ slogans. Ah yes, all parents know that off-gassing plastic really is “blankie soft.”
9. You don’t care about the amount of trash your family is generating. Most people don’t know something that is truly disheartening. Plastic diapers were invented in the early 1960s. Not a single one has decomposed fully since that time. Every plastic diaper that has ever been put in the landfill is still there. Experts estimate it will take between 100 and 500 years for a single plastic diaper to decompose.
10. You think it is healthy for your baby to have a product that contains trace amounts of dioxins, a chemical group so toxic even in the tiniest amounts that the World Health Organization claims they “can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer,” as well as Tributyl-tin (TBT), an endocrine disruptor, and sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer that can absorb 300 times its weight in tap water and is a known eye and lung irritant, in contact with his privates all day long.
11. You want your child to stay in diapers as long as possible. It’s common to see three, four, and five-year-olds wearing diapers in America these days, which baffles my friends from West Africa who ask me if there is something physiologically wrong with American children that they are unable to learn how to use the toilet. Plastic diapers do such a good job of whisking the moisture away that a baby does not make the connection between peeing and being wet. Though every child is different, parents who cloth diaper report having a much smoother transition to underpants. There’s nothing convenient about having a three-year-old still wearing diapers.