Authored By: Dr. Preeti Sharma

Sr. Consultant Paediatrician


Using a diaper seems to be a very easy task but if certain basic rules are not followed during diapering, it can lead to diaper rash, skin infection, urinary tract infections etc.

Cloth diaper vs. disposable diaper –

  • Both kind of diapers have their own set of pros and cons.
  • Cloth diapers have to be changed immediately after they are soiled.
  • Cloth diapers allow flow of air and babies are less likely to develop diaper rash.
  • Disposable diapers absorb urine and prevent the baby from feeling the wetness but if the child passes stools they also have to be changed immediately.
  • Air circulation is not good in disposable diapers increasing chance of baby developing diaper rash.
  • Some babies may be sensitive to the material used in disposable diapers.
  • If a baby develops diaper rash with disposable diaper it is best to use cloth diapers till the time the rash heals.

Cleaning cloth diapers –

  • Cloth diapers should be washed separately.
  • They should be soaked for a longer duration before washing.
  • Detergents should be preferred to washing soap.
  • Detergents containing fragrances or fabric softeners should not be used as they can cause irritation to baby’s skin.
  • Disinfectants like Dettol or Savlon can be used. Add approximately 1 cap to 1 bucket of water during soaking.
  • Rinse thoroughly to ensure that all detergent and disinfectant is washed off.

Diaper change –

  • Once the baby has passed stools the diaper should be changed immediately and the area should be cleaned thoroughly.
  • Wipes or cotton balls can be used for cleaning.
  • If you feel your baby is developing a rash after use of a particular brand of wipes, you can try changing the brand or try using cotton balls.
  • For baby girls always clean from front to back (start from vaginal area and then go up to perianal area). This helps in preventing urinary tract infection.
  • The area should be dried after cleaning by patting with a clean cotton cloth. Never rub the area.
  • If your baby has sensitive skin or has a diaper rash, apply diaper rash cream after cleaning and drying.
  • Wash your hands before and after a diaper change.
  • Put on diaper a little loosely to allow for air circulation.
  • In new-born babies make sure the diaper is below the umbilical cord till the time it falls off.
  • If possible allow child to be diaper free or put on cloth diapers for a few hours every day.

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