Diapering at Daycare & Preschool
Berkeley Parents Network >
Diapering at Daycare & Preschool
I'm an expecting first-time mom who plans to use cloth diapers.
But I'm wondering whether choosing cloth diapers might limit my
childcare options. How do daycare centers deal with cloth
diapers? And if I do a nanny share, how do you arrange for your
child's diapers to be available if the childcare isn't happening
in your home?
The short answer to your question is, Yes. If you don't want your
child in disposables, you have fewer choices for childcare. But
the good news is that it's not impossible. My daycare, Peter Pan
School in Alameda, had 95 kids (infant through pre-K) when my son
started there at 4.5 months. They *only* do cloth with the babies
(up to 2 yrs). You supply the wraps or plastic pants, and they
supply the cloth diapers. The catch: you must drop off and pick
up in disposables, so even if you do cloth at home, you must
supply at least 2 disposables per day. I loved it, and started
doing cloth at home when my son was 2 (and he potty trained at
2.5, perhaps due in part to being in cloth for so long).
Good luck. Bananas may have this information.
In my experience cloth diapers will not limit your options, but
we are a family daycare that will NOT use disposables. We will
only accept cloth (and provide cloth if the family doesn't use them).
We charge a modest fee for providing (and washing) cloth diapers
based on how many are used (an average). When diapers are
provided, we simply bag them up and return them at the end of the
day. We always have extra on hand in the event of an emergency. :)
Cloth diapers work well for me in our nanny share.
I simply pack a set of clean diapers (about 5 for an 8-hour
stretch, to be safe), an extra wrap and some extra clothes
(since they do leak a bit more easily than disposables on my
now actively moving toddler), as well as an empty plastic bag
in which the nanny puts the used diapers (rolled up so smear &
smell are minimized ;-) ).
We're lucky our nanny is willing and adept at using cloth
diapers on my baby and disposable ones on the share kid.
Only downside is it's a bit more bulky to bring along in the
morning, and I have to empty out the diapers and do the laundry
when I get home again with my baby. But that's not a biggie
compared to infrequent rashes and a better environmental
Curious to see what others' experience in larger
daycare/preschool situations has been (although I hope my baby
will be mostly using the potty by then)...
Use cloth diapers whenever you can. If your child care provider
agrees, drop off clean diapers, an extra cover, and plastic
bags, and pick up plastic bags with yucky diapers in them. If
not, use cloth diapers at home. If you buy diapers used from a
diaper service and wash them yourself, its cheaper than a
service, particularly if you are buying disposables as well.
In our daycare center (''Model school'' on Prince of telegraph) any
kind for diapers
are accepted and provided by the parents. Each child has a little
basket close to
the diaper changing area. Parents simply maintain the supply. They
diapers - once a week or every day or every other day, whatever works
them. Dirty close diapers are left there (best picked up daily).
They have a
supply of plastic bags for that (reused grocery store plastic bags for
this and other
occasions.) You'll quickly figure out how many diapers you'll need,
every day. You'll also leave an additional cover or two there. Sounds
technical, but It's actually very easy.
The daycare also want to have a set of cloths for any child (at any
age, also beyond
diapers). If any of these items is missing, it's not a drama either,
they always have some school owned supplies for this case.
Not every daycare leaves the choice of diapers to the parents, so it's
ask about beforehand. With a shared nanny, you could set up some
along the lines our daycare does - using a basket at the other parent's
house or a
bag in the nannies car or such. Regardless of the choice of diapers
useful, as you can leave some toys, sunblock, sunhat, set of cloths,
My son's daycare -- which we're happy with in virtually every
other way -- has the frustrating habit requiring clean up with a
bleach and water solution after each child's diaper change.
Frequently enough the kids are changed in quick succession and
because the bleach solution hasn't dried, my son's shirts and
pants often get bleach stains on them. It's driving me and other
parents nuts to constantly find white spots and streaks on our
kids' clothes and I'm definitely going to talk to the school
about it to see what solution we can figure out together.
But I'd also love to hear if anyone else has run up against this
sort of problem, and what other daycares use to clean up and
disinfect after diaper changes. It would be nice to have some
concrete suggestions for when I do appproach the school!
This sanitizing method is the recognized 'gold standard' in child care
for infection control. however, the science behind the recommendation
requires a 3-minute air drying time to be effective (and a proper
concentration of solution made fresh daily). you can call the California
Child Care Healthline at 1-800-333-3212 for consultation with a nurse/child care health consultant
(free service)for alternative methods.
health and safety trainer
I am happy to hear that the daycare cleans up with bleach, as it is the
best way to kill germs associated with poo. It is also nontoxic at low
concentrations, since it is a small molecule that our bodies can deal
with quite easily.
That said, it sounds like the daycare is using a bleach solution that is
more concentrated than it should be. To kill most germs I think you only
need about 1 part per million. There's probably a guide online
somewhere...I'd start with government sites like the city of san
francisco restaurant food safety inspection, or something like that.
Bleach does worse things than discolor fabrics: it is a caustic agent
which irritates and burns skin, eyes and air passages; it can be fatal
if swallowed; and can create organochlorines in the environment (see:
You may suggest the day care use:
a sprayable combination of hot water, white vinegar and lemon juice.
alcohol (still must be careful not to inhale it and let surfaces dry.
Another option is purchasing and using non-toxic commercial products,
such as: Ecover, EarthPower, EarthFriendly, etc
Sounds like a valid complaint! Kudos to the school, however, for being
overly cautious when so many make such little effort.
Our school uses roll-away paper. Similar to what the doctor's office
uses on the bed/examining table. Seems clean/hygienic enough to me.
My daycare uses paper over the table, like at the doctor's office, and
of course, gloves etc. After each diaper change they toss the paper and
the gloves. They would only probably disinfect if there was some sort of
terrible mess, and otherwise once or twice a day.
Yikes! You should be concerned less about your child's clothing than
your child's health and safety! Bleach is a noxious chemical that can do
damage either by inhalation or being absorbed through the skin and
should never be used around - let alone on - children. For more
information take a look at
I worked at a daycare (for years) which required those of us who changed
diapers to wipe the table (a vinyl mat) with a bleach and water solution
after each diapering. We too had complaints of strong bleach smell,
bleached clothing and concern of children's skin getting into contact
with the bleach water. The situation was quickly remedied by reducing
the amount of bleach used in the spray bottle. A bleach bottle capful
of bleach with one full spray bottle of water is enough. The solution
needs to be made fresh daily however.
There should also be plenty of paper towels to wipe the table nearly
dry. Also, children should have something between them and the table -
we used computer paper which parents donated.
Hope this is helpful!
Bleach water is best
Our daycare cleaned up with bleach, and I was always thankful for the
cleanliness, but we never had a problem with bleached clothes. I'd
suggest offering up some rags or towels to them so that they can wipe it
off after spraying (which I think our daycare did). maybe you can even
offer one of the ruined shirts! (Kidding. THat would piss them off.)
Ask them nicely, and maybe show them some of the bleached shirts.
Preferably, talk to the other parents too, so you can all offer up the
same plea. otherwise you're left with just sending your kid to school in
the old clothes.
We use the clorox disinfecting wipes (bought at Costco) or the Costco
brand on the potty seat, changing table, toilet, sinks, etc. No bleach,
and quick easy wipe up. I'd be more concerned about the effect of the
bleach water on baby's skin and system than clothes...that can't be
good, what if they put their hands in it, then into their mouth? (as so
many do) Even in small amounts...though I am sure that's part of your
concern. Since it not just you, make it a group effort to make change
Clorox is coming out with some new products that include wipes that are
bleach but that can be used around kids, around food, and, apparently,
that don't require vigilance to not fade clothes. They will surely be
more expensive than just mixing bleach in water in a spray bottle, but
maybe all the parents can pitch in and get a supply for the program. JM
My son's daycare has a roll of paper, like the kind doctors use on
examining tables, that they roll out over the changing pad and tear off
after each use. They also wear gloves when changing diapers. Also, they
always put the kids heads at the same end of the table. It is a very,
very clean daycare and there's never been a problem. I think they
bleach/clean the counter area at the end of the day. I can understand
the daycare's paranoia -- my neice got samonella which they think might
have been caused by exposure to feces, maybe from unwashed hands, etc.
But bleaching every diaper change sounds like overkill and not worth the
exposure to the chemical fumes.
I've never written here, but it just kills me to see misinformation.
Bleach is the most effective and safest way to kill germs; that's why
it's used by hospitals. It is NOT fatal if swallowed. Not that you'd
want to, but if you drank a cup of it you'd probably end up with a sore
throat. If you want correct information on how to mix it for
disinfecting (you need a very small amount), go to the Clorox website
(no, I don't work there). And after you use bleach, it decomposes to
basically salt and water. The biggest concerns are bleach stains on
clothes, but they should be less of a problem at the right concentration.
this page was last updated: Jan 21, 2011
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network