Can Diaper Design Lead to Diaper Rash?

Diaper design has come a long way towards protecting babies’ skin from contact with feces or urine that may cause irritation. Studies have shown that as diaper absorbency has improved, diaper dermatitis has decreased by as much as half.

A recent study looked at the efficacy of different types of commercially available diapers for absorbing the stool of breastfed infants. The studies compared a diaper that used a meshlike apertured topsheet that allowed stool to penetrate to the inside of the diaper to a diaper that used a nonapertured topsheet and is designed to immobilize stool in the topsheet. Caregivers recorded the amount of leakage with each type and the amount of stool left on the skin at each diaper change. Diapers were also lab tested to determine how much stool was absorbed.

The results showed the meshlike aperture topsheet design, among exclusively breastfed infants, can significantly reduce the amount of stool on the skin. They also found that this design was superior for leak prevention among breastfed infants.

They conclude that the topsheet design results in more efficient containment and absorption of stool and thus reduces contact with skin; this may help manage the diaper conditions that can lead to skin irritation and promote better infant skin health.