Diaper Choice: Too Costly to Bury

Randy M. Rockney, Larry Culpepper, Gracinda Cristina Figueira, William L. Mize

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In the coming year, it is expected that the Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, NY will become the largest man-made object on earth, nosing in front of the Great Wall of China, which has held that honor for the last 5000 years. 1 Diaper choice (cloth vs. disposable) has become a controversial issue with increased public concern for the environment. One hundred and twenty-four consecutive mothers were surveyed during the postpartum period about diaper choice. Six percent reported physician/nurse discussion of diaper choice during prenatal care. Seventy-seven percent planned to use disposable diapers only. Twenty-two percent planned to use cloth diapers or a combination of cloth and disposable diapers. Major reasons for choice of disposables included convenience, avoidance of safety pins and cleanliness. Mothers selecting cloth or a combination cited environmental concerns, low cost and cleanliness as reasons for their choice. Factors found to be significantly associated with choice of cloth or combination were older maternal age, use of cloth with other children, and perception that disposables are more expensive. No significant association could be demonstrated between diaper choice and several demographic variables, breastfeeding, or knowledge of the environmental impact of disposables. An educational intervention promoting the use of cloth diapers did not influence diaper choice at two months. Most mothers have made a diaper choice by the time an infant is born. Providers of prenatal care seldom discuss diaper choice with pregnant women. An educational intervention to promote choice of cloth diapers had no effect on the diaper choices made by our population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472-477
Number of pages6
JournalClinical pediatrics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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