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Diaper event aims to change minds

April 20, 2013|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Olive's mom, Danielle Tracey, along with 44 other moms and dads, holds up the diaper that they will be changing their baby into during the Cloth Diaper Challenge held on Saturday in Boonsboro and Nationwide.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

BOONSBORO, Md. — They used to be plain, thick, white and messy. Today, they are sporty and trendy, sometimes even chic and formal.

Eric and Lisel Powell bantered over which look they wanted as they prepared to diaper their 10-month old son, Jim Powell, on Saturday at the Great Cloth Diaper Change and Silent Auction at Trinity Lutheran Church in Boonsboro.

Eric Powell, 42, of New Market, Md., was thinking hot rod.

“I like the flames,” he said, pulling a black-and-orange cloth number from the diaper bag.

Lisel Powell, 37, however, opted for another design.

“Tuxedo. It’s a special event,” she countered, waving a diaper that later had young Jim sporting a bowtie on his behind.

Jim and about 45 other babies were part of an international effort to break the world record for the most reusable cloth diapers changed simultaneously as documented by Guinness World Records. The 2012 record shows 8,251 qualifying participants at 189 locations on four continents.

Susan McCarthy, owner of Enkore Kids consignment store in Boonsboro, has hosted a local event to participate in the effort for the past three years.

“Basically, it’s to draw awareness to cloth diapers,” McCarthy said. “They are environmentally friendly, they are better for your budget and they are better for your baby’s health. They are not the cloth, pins and plastic pants that everybody thinks of.”

McCarthy said modern cloth diapers are customized to fit individual babies’ needs in regards to size and absorbency and are, therefore, “less messy.” They are waterproof, and can wash and dry with regular laundry, she said.

The average family spends $1,000 per year for disposable diapers or about $3,000 per child, McCarthy said. Cloth diapers are more budget-friendly, she said, costing $150 to $500 up front and lasting for years and maintaining resale value.

“People don’t realize they could spend a couple hundred dollars on cloth diapers and be done buying diapers no matter how many children you have,” McCarthy said. “I had diapers I used on both of my children that I then sold to a friend of mine. They went through her child, then another child after that.”

Vendors provided information and offered items for the silent auction. Proceeds from the auction and the sales of Diaper Change merchandise will be used to start a cloth-diaper closet for low-income families, McCarthy said.

Attendees of the Diaper Change made their final bids before filing into a taped-off area in the center of the church’s basement and laying their babies on carpet remnants.

“Three, two, one. Change!” an announcer yelled.

Parents carefully adjusted cloth diapers in an array or colors and styles, and they held their babies high in the air, shouting ‘Wee!’ in celebration.

The Powells said they choose to use cloth diapers for environmental reasons and to save money.

“We want to support this event and raise awareness about cloth diapering and let people know that it’s really not that difficult. It’s super easy,” Lisel Powell said.

Her mother, Susanne Shoffner, 60, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, took photos.

“We used to travel from Ohio to Connecticut with a diaper pail with water between my legs on the front seat. I used nothing but cloth diapers with the old-fashioned pins and the rubber pants that you had to slip over them,” she said.

Shoffner said she “hates to waste” and “loves” the idea of new and improved cloth diapers and the movement for people to return to the use of them.

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