Saturday, 15 November 2008 | Tags: ,

Keeping baby dry and happy is a big challenge daily, so we went in search of the best diaper solution.

The Basics

  • A key decision for parents is to choose between the convenience of disposable diapers and the seemingly eco-friendlier cloth diapers. Consider these points:

    • You can reuse 2 or 3 dozen cloth diapers a year, but the average baby will go through about 2,900 disposables in 12 months!

    • Laundering cloth diapers uses about 34,000 litres of water per year and energy you wouldn’t otherwise use.

    • You can cut down energy consumed by washing cloth diapers in cold water and hanging dry.

    • A cloth diaper service uses about 2/3 less water than washing at home, but you’ll pay for the service.

  • For disposables, the more you buy, the less you pay per diaper.

  • Fit is key to baby’s comfort. You should be able to easily get a finger around the thigh area. Make sure it’s doesn’t dig into sensitive skin or get too tight around the abdomen – most disposable diapers allow quite a bit of flexibility.

Other Considerations

  • Some companies have come out with boy- and girl-specific diapers, claiming more leak control in areas where urine accumulates. The pediatricians we asked say the urine-gender difference is minor and shouldn’t be a deciding factor.


With some willing babies and experienced diaper-changing moms, we tested these four brands of diapers:

  • Safeway Store Brand: 0.31¢ per diaper
  • Pampers Cruisers: 0.50¢ per diaper
  • Seventh Generation: 0.50¢ per diaper
  • Huggies: 0.44¢ per diaper

Absorbance Test

We took our diaper samples to a lab, cut a strip of each, soaked it, and then put it in a device called a centrifuge to force out any “free” water.

  • We were very impressed with all the diapers. They held the water and didn’t let out a drop, even at the centrifuge’s warp speed.

Baby-Mom Test

  • None were interested in the scent of the Pampers – a fake sort of baby powder smell.

  • The fit of the Safeway store brand just didn’t measure up. It was also was the first to sag.

  • One mom liked the fit of the Huggies best.

  • Seventh Generation squeaked by the rest in terms of fit, style, and absorption.


The marginally more environmentally-friendly Seventh Generation took the prize with most of our moms, despite the higher price.


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