There are lots of situations where parents disagree about cloth vs. disposable diapers. Parents who like cloth worry about the environmental impact of disposables, while parents who use disposables point out that washing diapers uses energy. Some cloth diaper parents think their children get fewer diaper rashes and potty-train faster because they can feel when their diaper is soiled. Disposables users counter that their children get fewer diaper rashes because the superabsorbent gel in most versions wicks away wetness from a baby's skin and neutralizes causes of rash in the baby's urine helping reduce the risk of diaper rash. Ultimately convenience and cost will be the deciding factors. A lot depends on lifestyle and what type of diaper works best for your child. If your baby is in day care, you most likely will need to use disposables, at least during the day. Some parents use cloth diapers at home and disposables when they're traveling.
If you're not sure which type of diaper to use you could try both types, some parents are put off by the prospect of laundering cloth diapers. However diaper services are available and with a reasonable inventory of cloth diapers you are only looking at adding another load or two of laundry and you should feel good about your choice because of environmental impact. Concerns about disposable diapers tend to be around the chemicals that have been used certain dyes, the super absorbent gel, and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper. Sodium polyacrylate (absorbent gel) has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome, allergic reactions and is very harmful and potentially lethal to pets. Some dyes and dioxin according to the Environmental Protection Agency are known to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver. The Food & Drug Administration has received reports that fragrances in disposables caused headaches, dizziness and rashes.
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Problems reported to the Consumer Protection Agency include reactions to chemicals in the disposables, babies pulling disposables apart and putting pieces of plastic into their noses and mouth, plastic melting onto the skin, and ink staining the skin. Plastic tabs can also tear skin if the diaper is not properly put on the baby. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 54 % of one-month old babies using disposable diapers had rashes, 16 % having severe rashes. A study done by a disposable diaper manufacturing company (we won't name the company, but it's one of the largest manufacturers) shows that the incidence of diaper rash increased from 7.1% to 61% with the increased use of throwaway disposable diapers. Keep in mind that each baby is different; some parents will find their baby does perfectly fine with disposables while other parents may find their baby has some type of reaction to disposables.
On the other hand cloth diapers can cause rashes by not being changed enough or properly cleaned and sanitized after becoming soiled. The best way to prevent diaper rash is to change diapers, cloth or disposable, frequently. While disposable diapers can hold large quantities of urine, this slight wetness is still against your baby's skin, which can lead to rashes. Cloth diapers should be changed every time your baby wets and then the diaper should be properly cleaned so all bacteria that may be in the cloth is killed.Ultimately the truth of the argument (Cloth Diaper vs Disposable Diaper) comes down to the parents being vigilant and how your baby is reacts to a particular diaper and how you feel about other factors that come into play when deciding between cloth and disposables.