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A Word on Wipes

Although we haven’t officially counted, there have to be about as many brands and types of wipes as there are tennis shoes—environmentally friendly all-natural wipes, scented and unscented, with aloe and without, in round containers, in rectangular refillable containers, and packaged in reusable or disposable travel packs. And while they may only cost a few cents a wipe if you don’t go for the top of the line or opt for fancy packaging, the cost can really add up. While the principles discussed in the “Buying Diapers” section generally apply to buying wipes as well, here are a few additional things to consider when buying and using wipes.

  • Packaging. After one look at the shelves, you won’t need us to tell you that when it comes to buying wipes, you pay for packaging. However, doing so is not always a bad thing. For example, someone who clearly had firsthand experience in the use of wipes on the go must have come up with the handy little travel-sized packs, and many parents find the added convenience well worth the extra money. That said, it is useful to hang on to reusable plastic travel containers. By simply buying large refill packs and restocking them yourself, you can save yourself the extra expense.
  • Don’t flush ’em. Enough said—almost. There are very few wipes on the market that don’t have the potential to wreak havoc on your plumbing. Be sure to check package labels before buying if you are determined to find wipes that are flushable, because most of them are not.
  • The overuse of wipes. Believe it or not, not every diaper change requires the use of wipes. This is not only because pee rarely irritates the skin, but also because today’s super-absorbent disposable diapers effectively limit the amount of pee that even comes into contact with the skin. Reserving wipes for cleaning up poop can save you a considerable amount. Also keep in mind that a moist tissue, a wet washcloth, or even a quick rinse in the tub may be used in place of baby wipes when convenient.
Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Last Updated
Heading Home With Your Newborn, 2nd Edition (Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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