9 Side Effects of Diapers on Babies, and Their Alternatives

9 Side Effects of Using Diapers on Babies

Diapers have been popular with parents for the past few decades now. There is no denying that they are extremely convenient and have simplified the life of parents of this generation. Diapers are convenient to use; there is no hassle of washing them, they are easily available, and of course, there is no worry of leakage. However, there are some disadvantages of using diapers for babies that you should be aware of. From skin rashes to potty training, diaper use can affect many areas of a baby’s health if used without certain safety precautions in place. In the following article, we shall discuss what the probable cons of diapers on babies are.

What Are the Disadvantages of Using Diapers for Babies?

As a parent, it is your responsibility to look after your baby’s health and well-being. There is no doubt that diapers make your life easy, but there are a few disadvantages of diapers that parents should be informed about. Here are some of the side effects of using diapers for babies:

1. It May Cause Allergic Reactions

Babies have soft and gentle skin, and anything harsh may harm their skin. Some diaper manufacturing companies often use synthetic fibres, dyes, or other harsh chemical products in making diapers. All these harsh chemicals can damage your baby’s sensitive skin and cause allergies. Choose a diaper that is soft and made of skin-friendly materials.

2. It May Cause Skin Rashes

Diaper rashes are very common in babies. If a wet diaper is left on a baby for longer than usual, bacteria may breed in the wet soiled diaper and may lead to rashes. Make sure to change your little one’s diaper regularly to minimise the risk of rashes.

A mother checks her baby's diaper

3. It May Lead to Toxicity

Diapers are made with chemicals and synthetic materials; exposing your baby to such things for a longer duration may harm him. This happens because on an average, you may be using eight to ten diapers in a day and more so for a longer duration at night. Exposing your baby’s delicate skin to harsh chemicals may result in some of it entering your baby’s system too, leading to toxicity. However, this is not of much concern when used intermittently.

4. More Chances of Infection

Diapers are made with a material that allows absorption of your baby’s urine. The same substance may hinder the easy flow of air inside your baby’s diaper and creates an apt condition for bacteria and other germs to breed. Excessive diaper usage makes your baby prone to catching skin and other infections too. Make sure to change your baby’s diaper frequently.

5. Diapers are Expensive

If you rely only on diapers, then it may burn a big hole in your pocket. On average, you may be required to change eight to ten diapers of your baby in a day and in some cases even more. However, there are many diapers made of good materials that are also affordable, so do your research.

6. Difficulty in Toilet Training

Letting your baby wear diapers most of the time may cause a problem in toilet-training your baby. This is because babies get used to peeing and pooping in the diaper and parents find it convenient too. However, when you try to potty train your baby, your baby may whimper and fuss. Toilet training lessons that usually start early in life are probably losing its importance in today’s world because of too much reliance on diapers. You can take out time to toilet train your baby earlier.

7. Diapers are Not Environment-friendly

Use of diapers is on the rise, but it is not good for the environment. There are a large number of diapers that get disposed in the environment containing plastic, synthetic fibres, and other chemicals. All these are difficult to decompose and pose a threat to the environment. There are some companies that have come up with eco-friendly diapers too, so look for those.

8. It May Suppress Immunity

A baby’s immunity builds as he grows, making him susceptible to infections at a younger age. Diapers may cause urinary or fungal infections, and the more infections babies catch, the more their immunity is suppressed, making them susceptible to further infections. Vicious cycle, isn’t it? Add to that the Volatile Organic Compounds present in diapers, which further affect immunity.

9. Diapers May Discomfort the Baby

Diapers with a hard elastic band may press down on the baby’s waist and leave imprints that feel itchy. If you find red marks around your baby’s waist or thighs, or you find your baby crying more than usual, switch the diaper variant to check for any difference.

Alternatives to Diapers

The following are some ideal alternatives to diapers that you can consider using for your baby:

1. Cloth Diapers

You can use cloth diapers for your baby. These are not only good for your baby’s skin and health, but are reusable. There are many variants of cloth diapers available in the market; you can pick up organic cotton ones that absorb well. However, be prepared for some extra work, as you’ll need to change and wash your little one’s diaper, as soon as it gets soiled.

A baby wearing a cloth diaper

2. Use Diaper Liners

Diaper liners are easily available in the market and you can place them inside the cloth diaper. These can be changed when soiled, and can be easily flushed, too.

Reusable cloth diaper

3. Eco-friendly Disposable Diapers

Sometimes it becomes a necessity for parents to use disposable diapers. There are eco-friendly diapers and disposable diapers that you can choose from; these are soft for your baby’s skin too.

How to Choose the Best Disposable Diaper for Your Baby?

There are various factors to consider when buying diapers for your baby, which can help avert most of the disadvantages of disposable diapers.

1. Good Absorbency

Look for diapers with a high absorbency that lock in moisture and keep it away from the baby’s skin. This reduces the risk of leakage, as well as rashes and infections.

2. Material

A diaper made with soft, chemical-free materials does not irritate the baby’s delicate skin, preventing any rashes. Look for soft diapers to keep your baby comfortable and allergy/ rash-free.

3. Good Fit

A good fit is essential to avoid any leaks and keep the baby feeling comfortable as well.

4. Cost

Look for diapers that fit your budget and are of a high quality as well. Many brands offer the best quality at the best price, so you’ll be surprised with the number of options you have!

5. Growth of Baby

The size of a diaper varies with the baby’s weight and size. To ensure that your baby does not feel uncomfortable in the wrong-sized diaper, avoid stocking up on diapers of the same size. Buy a couple of packets at a time and go up a size when you feel your has grown significantly.


1. Can I Use Diaper At Night For A Baby?

You can, in fact, use diapers for your baby at night. However, if the diapers you are using as not super absorbent, it’s important to check the diaper every few hours in case a change is required. Alternatively, you can also purchase super absorbent diapers for longer wear. If you notice your baby having diaper rashes, make sure you alter the usage or switch to a different diaper.

2. Can Diaper Affect Walking In Baby?

Studies have shown that the additional bulk that diapers create between the legs can affect a baby’s balance and cause issues with walking. However, reports also suggest that alternating between bulky disposable diapers and less bulky alternatives can help keep any walking issues at bay.

Hope the above-mentioned tips will help you make an informed decision. Diapers are surely easy to use, but they do have some disadvantages. Therefore, do your research and make the best possible decision for you and your baby.


1. Bernard. A; Dermal Exposure to Hazardous Chemicals in Baby Diapers: A Re-Evaluation of the Quantitative Health Risk Assessment Conducted by The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES); PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8998495/; March 2022

2. Rai. P, Lee. B, Liu. T, et al.;Safety Evaluation of Disposable Baby Diapers Using Principles of Quantitative Risk Assessment; Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health; https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/15287390903212246; December 2009

3. Ueda. T, Asano. H, Tsuge. K, et al.;Effect of wearing diapers on toddler’s gait; PubMed Central; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34635720/; October 2021

4. Diaper rash; Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diaper-rash/symptoms-causes/syc-20371636; July 2022

5. Campbell. R, Seymour. J, Stone. L, et al.; Clinical studies with disposable diapers containing absorbent gelling materials: evaluation of effects on infant skin condition; PubMed Central; https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3323274/; December 1987

Also Read: 

Diaper Buying Guide for New Parents
Cloth Diapers Vs Disposable Diapers
How to Buy Quality Diapers at Affordable Cost

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