PARENTS

Real Nappy Week: Time To Ditch Disposable Nappies?

14/08/2014 17:00 | Updated 20 May 2015

Baby walking with push cart

Next week is Real Nappy Week, when mums and dads around the country are encouraged to put disposable nappies to one side and give washable cloth nappies a go. Even if you've never used reusable nappies before, it's the perfect time to consider the benefits.

For one thing, switching to cloth nappies could save you up to £500 per year. Even if you still choose to use disposables some of the time, using reusable nappies (for example when you're at home) could still represent a hefty saving at a time when young families are increasingly squeezed for cash.

And if your baby is prone to nappy rash, they might notice the difference, too. Disposable nappies are made with chemicals and adhesives that can irritate sensitive skin, while it is easy to find cloth nappies made with natural materials which reduce the risk of rashes.

Furthermore, you don't have to be Swampy to recognise the environmental benefits of switching wholly or partly to reusable nappies.

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Every year, seven million trees are chopped down to produce nappies for the UK market and a massive eight million disposable nappies are thrown away every day in the UK - in fact, they make up half the waste of a family with a child under one.

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Disposable nappies have existed for a few decades, so we don't know exactly how long they take to decompose, but it is thought they could be clogging up landfills for anything from 50 to 500 years (depending on the type).

Some parents might be put off by assumptions that cloth nappies are messy or old-fashioned, but washable nappies have undergone significant evolution over the past few years. Gone are the giant safety pins of yore, replaced by Velcro and poppers, while new designs prevent leaking or saturation.

Research shows that the average child will spend 25,000 hours in nappies, while the average mum or dad can look forward to an eye-watering 6,000 nappy changes - so your decision really does have an impact.

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