Disposable Diaper Chemical Burns – A Hypothesis

I am blogging early this week because of the timely nature of a post beginning to circulate on social media. A woman in New York is posting pictures of her young child and is making the claim the marks on the skin of her child is due to the chemical inside the diaper leaking out and being in contact with her baby’s skin during a nap along the child’s leg under the pants. It appears the photo is real and I have no reason to believe her claim is false at this point. I have contacted this mom via Facebook to try to add some plausibility to my hypothesis, but at this point I have not heard back from her. I will update the post if I do.There is a possible explanation, and perhaps one that should be investigated so parents can exercise caution if it turns out to be correct. My thought on this is there is indeed a chemical burn happening, but it isn’t the diaper alone that is causing it. I believe there is a perfect storm of chemicals that, while rarely, can be present in the right rations to cause this type of injury.

Snopes reports that as early as 2010, after a change in the design of a particular brand of diapers, parents began reporting burn injuries which they correlated to the change of the diaper design. One can do a Google search and find hundreds of blog posts on the warm and fuzzy parenting sites about changing to “chemical-free” diapers. I’m not sure how one creates a chemical-free diaper, since even having the air be the diaper, the air is still a chemical. Both Canadian and U.S. authorities investigated the claims at that time, and found no cause for concern. Proctor & Gamble did settle a lawsuit out of court, which gave a small amount of money to those families and covered the legal fees. This is often standard to settle rather than pay much higher costs fighting the claims in court.

Sodium polyacrylate is the stuff inside diapers that allows it to absorb super amounts of water. Carnegie Mellon University gives a nice simple explanation on their teacher resource page on the material:

Sodium polyacrylate is an example of a super-absorbing polymer. It is a cross-linked (network) polymer that contains sodium atoms. It absorbs water by a process called osmosis. When the (sodium-containing) polymer is placed in contact with water, there is a tendency for the sodium to distribute equally between the network and the water. That means, some of the sodium atoms want to leave the network and move to the water. When these sodium atoms leave, they are replaced with water molecules. Water swells the polymer network to try to keep the sodium concentration balanced between the polymer and the water. The cross-links that connect the chains together prevent them from dissolving/breaking apart in the water. Sodium polyacrylate can absorb 800 times its weight in distilled water, but only 300 times its weight in tap water, since tap water contains some sodium, calcium and other mineral salts.

The MSDS indicates that sodium polyacrylate dust is an eye and lung irritant. This should make sense, because those are both moist environments, so the dust would absorb water, causing eye dryness and bronchial dryness, as well as swelling up and causing the body to try to get rid of the stuff. This doesn’t explain chemical burns.

The other precaution mentioned in the MSDS is to avoid strong oxidizing agents. Although I couldn’t find anything in several minutes of searching as to why this is, I hypothesize what is happening is the oxidizing agent would strip off the ionic end of the polymer (the sodium) and in the presence of the water in the urine will form sodium hydroxide. When raw sodium contacts water, a very exothermic reaction happens, and in the process sodium hydroxide and hydrogen is formed.

What could be the oxidizing agent? Again, this is conjecture, but a common item for households with young children who soil their clothes often is non-chlorine bleach. These products generally contain peroxides and/or carbonates. These do indeed produce oxygen when exposed to water. My own anecdote is young kids produce bushels full of laundry. I will often fill the machine a bit more than maybe it should be. It is entirely possible some of these oxygenating cleaners were not entirely dissolved and were left on the clothes. As the diaper leaked, the interaction with water released the oxygen, causing the sodium to detach from the sodium polyacrylate and forming sodium hydroxide in the water.

In this case, I am going to say that snopes got it right from the media reports, the reports from government agencies, and the court cases. However, I do see a plausibility that I don’t think has been tested. The circumstances would need to be perfect, which is likely why we don’t see this more often. However, I do think it is worth testing, and perhaps issue some advice on making sure to avoid using oxygen cleaners or make sure to thoroughly rinse clothing washed in such substances.

I hope someone does the science on my hypothesis.

Update: Snopes has a follow-up piece specifically about this case. They state that while the burns are probably not fake, they do a great job of explaining the logical fallacy in assuming it is the diaper.

Update 11/7/2013: An initial test mixing about 2 teaspoons of the sodium polyacrylate and a similar amount of a brand name sodium percarbonate detergent and 100 mL of water did indeed give an increase in pH to just over 11. This seems to be consistent with the known pH of solid sodium percarbonate mixed with water. Further review of the research indicated that sodium percarbonate alone can cause skin irritation, due partially to the pH and partially to the release hydrogen peroxide, which is known to damage skin with extended contact. Keep in mind this ingredient is in many of the detergents commonly used by consumers.

This initial test was done more as an observation and did not have controls or multiple tests due to time constraints. However, Dr. Emily Flynn and other fellow faculty (thanks to them for helping!!) are helping me set up further tests, which I will follow up on in the near future. It does appear on initial observation that my hypothesis has validity.

Update March 2014: Further testing and research was conducted with similar results.

About Eric Hall

My day job is teaching physics at the University of Minnesota, Rochester. I write about physics, other sciences, politics, education, and whatever else interests or concerns me. I am always working to be rational and reasonable, and I am always willing to improve my knowledge and change my mind when presented with new evidence.
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66 Responses to Disposable Diaper Chemical Burns – A Hypothesis

  1. MelissaJo says:

    Thank you for the explanation you have provided. I have a nine month old granddaughter and after reading the various articles online regarding the diaper chemical causing burns, I was very reluctant to purchase Huggies/Pampers brands for her. I will take the information you’ve provided and apply it when doing laundry in the future. I understand that these findings are preliminary, but at least it is a start and a way for me to proactively use some sort of caution. I happened upon your blog through random links regarding this issue, but will continue to follow in the future. Thanks again for taking the time to investigate and care about this issue.

  2. Jim Clewell says:

    or the mother just has Munchhausen by proxy, and is abusing her child to gain attention and empathy…..

  3. John Choiniere (@johnchoiniere) says:

    Elemental sodium undergoes violent reaction with water, creating NaOH (which dissolves into Na+ and OH-, affecting pH). Releasing sodium ions will have at most a minimal effect on the pH, as they definitely do *not* undergo the same reaction. Other parts of your theory may be true, but the sodium is not a concern whatsoever.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I realized that error after I posted it (trying to write between classes means my thoughts are not focused on what I am writing). I hated to change it because I don’t want to dramatically alter the original post – but maybe I should…

      Thanks!

  4. Anonymous says:

    My son woke up today with a chemical burn on his butt from his pull-up diaper. Nothing else had contacted his skin for 8+ hours…so the only thing I can point to is the diaper. Just one more reason to switch to cloth diapers.

    • Eric Hall says:

      I am sorry that happened to your son.

      I must ask – did he sleep on a sheet and/or mattress? Did he have a blanket? Any stuffed toys or other objects in the bed? These are the things people should take note of in these cases so that all of us parents can benefit from finding the true answer.

      I’m not saying it isn’t possible these are being caused by diapers – perhaps impurities from poor manufacturing, shipping contamination, or any other number of explanations. However, based on the number of reports in a given year, I am thinking there is some perfect set of circumstances causing this to happen. I wold like to use science to find out what that is.

      • Anonymous says:

        Googled because this happened to my son last night. (We have been using Huggies Overnights for about a year now and this is the first time) .. but the burn makes him scream when touched. He only wears huggies overnight. I felt really bad for my little guy on his change before bed. It looks like it was trying to heal and got stuck to the diaper. Ouch. May be the end of our Huggies days.

        • Stephen Propatier says:

          The most common reason for a severe diaper rash is not the diaper. It is the concentration of the urine/feces, time, and/or the possibility of a fungal infection.
          The rates of diaper rash and complications are actually equal in cloth diapers. Often due to the detergents and washing agents that clean the diapers, plus the diaper stays wet against the skin. Bacteria from the child’s skin and feces complicates things.
          10 years in the Pedi ER.
          Diaper rash happens in as little as 40 minutes.
          The studies and diaper rash are contradictory and often poorly structured. One thing remains consistent. Neither disposable or cloth has a advantage with rash complications. On that basis alone the chemical is probably irrelevant to the point. Just naturalistic fallacy.

          • EileenV2 says:

            Diaper rash and the Chemical Burns my granddaughter suffered are two totally different things. Most kids get diaper rash not all kids suffer the severe pain of Chemical Burns, thankfully.

          • Please explain to me how you tell the difference?

          • EileenV2 says:

            Diaper rash I agree can get very bad and look nasty. But what I saw from start to finish, if you saw you would be a believer. I will try to explain. After we sat and read a couple of books I put her to bed with a clean dry diaper, by the time I walked out of her room into the living room she was crying, I went back in the room right away and she had taken her pajamas and diaper off. I saw her lower back and hips were bright red. when I looked closer as she was screaming in pain, i could actually see what I can only describe as her blood boiling. I know it sounds dramatic but this is what it looked like. I was freaking out because I had never seen this before. I put her in the tub with cool water and baking soda. Her mom came & took her to the er. Which they weren’t sure what it was but said it was contact dermatitis. By the morning her skin looked burnt, she was taken to her pediatrician and he said that she was burnt. So if she wasn’t burnt from fire, hot water, heat, etc. It had to be a chemical burn looks wrinkled black and painful, just like a burn. Do you have children? I just do not want this to happen to another child, it was horrible.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Eileen – if the burn happened that fast, it would be difficult to believe others in contact with the diaper would experience some symptoms on their hands as well, especially if the entire diaper is affected, I know I have to at least touch a little bit of the inside of a diaper to smooth it out to make it easier to get on.

            Also interesting you chose baking soda. Why that? Baking soda being a base can actually cause a chemical burn (though the contact would have to be for quite a long time and dilution in the bathtub would likely make it pretty weak).

            Based on that fast reaction, I would say there are a couple of hypotheses as to what happened, but it is very unlikely it was the diaper you put on.

          • EileenV2 says:

            I don’t assume to know all, but just because everyone isn’t sensitive to certain things, for example poison ivy doesn’t bother me but my daughter turns into the elephant man when she makes contact with it, that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. If the only thing different in her 3 yrs of life was the diapers it’s only logical to believe that was the problem. As for the use of baking soda, baking soda in the bath is soothing, so when you don’t have anything else, especially for a baby screaming in pain, that was what I thought of.

          • Eric Hall says:

            Poison ivy is a different type of reaction, for it is not a burn but an allergic reaction. So yes, not everyone will have the same reaction. In fact, poison ivy is interesting as I have had a few bouts with it. Most people don’t react much to their first couple of exposures, but your body actually prepares an immune response which leads to a much stronger reaction in future interactions. A couple of dermatologists have told me they believe this reaction can fade over time so it is possible your exposures have been small enough and spread out enough as to not cause the reaction. But this is a much different physical thing from a burn.

            I can say with a high degree of certainty that if you or any human spills sulfuric acid on their skin, it will burn. This is much simpler chemistry than the complex biological chemistry of an allergy. So if it is a chemical burn, your skin would react more or less the same way as your 3 year-old. A chemical burn isn’t something people have different reactions to.

          • EileenV2 says:

            Eric, I do realize poison ivy is an allergy I was just using that as an example. Some peoples skin is more sensitive than others. I didn’t comment on this blog to argue with anyone, only to let other people know that this is happening no matter how much people try to deny it or what the chemistry is. I just hope you never have to see it happen first hand.

      • Nancy says:

        How about the wipes or items used to clean the babies bottom prior to diapering. Also, lotions, powder etc. instead of diapers. Additionally, disposable diapers, in general are not good for the environment. Cloth diapers has always been the answer.

      • Margaret says:

        My newborn has a chemical burn.. she was in the nursery for 3 days under lights for Jaundice(a sterile environment) and was sent home to me with this burn. Also, I don’t use detergent s I make my own laundry soap containing a Fels Naptha bar, Boraxs and super washing soda. But even if that could cause such a rash, she wore nothing from home while in the hospital so I believe your theory is wrong…

        • Eric Hall says:

          First, let me address your homemade detergent. Borax and washing soda both are very basic. Remember ph is a logarithmic scale. Fels naptha is an acidic soap. Depending on the amounts, you likely still end up with a base – probably somewhere a little less than the oxidizing detergent I mentioned. So if any was left on your clothing while you handled your baby the first few days it could have easily transferred.

          Secondly, you assume this is the fault of the diaper and not the excretion of your child. Jaundice is caused by a high level of bilirubin in the blood. This is also alkaline (basic) in nature. It is usually excreted via a bowel movement. So alot would have been excreted during those first few days, leading to a similar effect as the detergent in a short amount of exposure time. If an emergency delivery comes in, your baby could have easily spent 30 minutes without a diaper check.

          We all like to blame corporations and their products for all our ills – but our own body can be just as “crappy.”

      • ashley polakowski says:

        I have two daughters, and my first daughter would get burns and only when she wore Huggies. My husband and I were split up when he would take her he used huggies and her rashes were so severe that I would have to make E.R visits. With my second child I thought maybe I’ll try them one time see if it was just my eldest daughter. She had the diaper on for 20min. During the day she had not gone one or two in her diaper and had a burn that I couldn’t get rid of without medication. You can only imagen my feeling towards Huggies diapers.

    • An obvious question to ask in this context is whether your son was wearing “HUGGIES SNUG AND DRY” diapers. If not, then as you say, it is a reason to switch to cloth rather than change brands of disposables.

    • anonymously says:

      My daughters butt looks the same as his leg does and she uses huggie slip ons and her pedi said that friction from her body and diaper can cause.. it may look like chemical burn but its not.,.im trying to c if this is true or not

    • dd says:

      My duaghter woke up to a 2nd degree bad burnt on her bottie bcause of huggies dry I took her to the e.r and was gaven ointment n told to change diapers immediately

      • RobbiesMommy says:

        Sorry but it’s common sense to change your babys diaper immediately and consistently. Your comment is just basically saying you did not change your babys diaper enough, and also before you post you may want to spell correctly !!

        • anonymously says:

          Who is gonna wake the sleeping child just to change the diaper if child up change it

          • RobbiesMommy says:

            I change my child while he is sleeping, and so does a lot of other parents i have talked to, why would you leave your child in a soaked diaper ? You would not want to be sleeping in.soaked underwear now would you, so why should a child?

        • dd says:

          I do change my daughter constantly if that was the case I wouldn’t have taken her to the e.r.and maybe you’ll want to help me spell correctly.

          • anonymously says:

            My child wears the huggies slip ons and i change her cinstantly and her butt looks like a chemical burn.. her pedi told me its the friction from her running around… and she doesnt wake through the night and she goes to bed w a dry diaper on and most days wakes up dry… was told jus to use vasoline.. and im sorry that happened to ur child

          • WonderMommy says:

            Since we are in and English lesson here, robbiesmom, the correct grammar is “so do a lot of parents…” Not so does.

        • WonderMommy says:

          She meant change brands , Mrs. Critic. Before you posts you may want to learn how to read correctly.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m thinking they told her to change BRAND of diapers immediately. Did I misread or did everyone else here automatically assume this mother wasn’t changing the baby’s diaper often enough.

        • EileenV2 says:

          I agree with you that they meant use a different brand. Why is it so hard to believe that this is happening to these poor babies?? And who cares if your spelling and grammar is correct this is about chemically burning our babies!! It just happened to my granddaughter. I saw it with my own eyes, her back was red, and there was bubbling under her skin it was the most horrible sight I have seen in my 56 years of living. The next day she had chemical burns yes I said it chemical burns. Why is it so hard to believe that we know what we are talking about. I know what a chemical burn looks like and I know when a child is in severe pain. babies have sensitive skin, TAKE THE CHEMICALS OUT OF THEIR DIAPERS if not we will use the cloth ones, we’ll see how quickly things change when they don’t sell their crap in the stores!

  5. Tony says:

    many (most) organic compounds will have the “avoid strong oxidizers” label in the msds for several reasons. 1) strong oxidizers typically support combustion and most organic molecules are combustible thus you have two portions of the fire triangle (fuel and oxidizer) ready to go 2) strong oxidizers readily take electrons from otherwise stable species making them into fairly unstable species. In the case of a carboxylic acid or carboxylate salt, the oxidizer is likely to remove an electron (or entire hydrogen atom) from the carbon adjacent to the functional group creating an unstable radical that will disproportionate, often exothermically, creating a potential fire hazard.

  6. nancy says:

    why did she photograph her son in front of the stove with the kettle visible in the background? I’ve suffered hot water burns that looked similar to the marks on the child. That diaper must have been soaked clean through to burst that badly that it ran down to his feet. Just not sure about this one. Is she looking for some money from Huggies? Attention? yes, like someone else said…maybe Munchhausen by proxy. My daughter suffered a severe allergic diaper rash from Pampers way back 29 years ago. I don’t think they used the gel stuff in those back then. I switched her to Huggies and she never had diaper rash again. Whatever has caused these burns, it’s sad the child has to suffer.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nancy, my daughter also had a bad reaction to Pampers “way back in the day” when they first came out. I also switched to a different brand & never had a rash again.

    • RobbiesMommy says:

      My opinion to , im not saying the mother is a liar, but that definitely looks like burns from liquid like hot water !!

    • Erin P says:

      i could not possibly agree more. and i WILL say that i believe that mother is a liar. my daughter has worn huggies in pools several times and they have never burst. so to say it burst from him peeing while sleeping, i call complete bs, not to mention that if he was laying down, it would have leaked on his sides and butt, not down his legs unless he was standing up, because that’s how gravity works.

      • Carol says:

        I am so skeptical about this mom. Why is the burns from the diaper in random spots? Why is it not on both legs and more wide spread (all around on the one leg it is on?

      • WonderMommy says:

        My baby has busted her diaper just from squirming and Huggies have blistered, not just rash, BLISTERED my daughter’s bottom. And prescription rash cream would not help, it just kept getting worse, so she may not be telling the truth but there is a definate difference between Huggies and cheaper brand.

      • EileenV2 says:

        Erin, I can’t believe that because your child, has been lucky enough not to have had problems with the chemical burns, you think this mom is a liar. You have no idea how horrific it is to see this happen first hand. I had that unfortunate opportunity and I would not wish that for anyone. Big companies unfortunately sometimes only care about how much money they can make. It costs too much to investigate then find out this is true and be sued by how many parents. How much money would they lose then. Parents should stick together and fight

  7. jaguarpaw90 says:

    I’ve seen this post on facebook lately, and several people asked me why I didn’t bother to share the post, considering I share almost everything I see on my newsfeed that I think has important information, and seeing how it’s very relevant to my own situation; I have a 2 year old daughter and she’s still in diapers – the exact diapers that this post is talking about. I’ve used huggies since she was born, and it’s the brand that my mother used when I was a baby, as well as my siblings, and with my nieces and nephews. The only time a diaper has burst while my daughter was wearing one was when she was playing in the sprinkler earlier this year, and the diaper had soaked up a very large amount of water causing it to burst, and even then she didn’t suffer any burns. It seems to me that she either set him down for a nap with a soiled diaper, or left the soiled diaper on him for an excessive amount of time. My daughter takes long naps, up to four hours as of late, because she’s been teething, and I check on her frequently to make sure she doesn’t have a soiled diaper. If she soils it, I clean her up and change the diaper. It takes a large amount of liquid to burst a diaper, more than a child can produce during a short nap. If anything, her post just proves that there is a factor of negligence, if not abuse to the child. If she tries to take it to court, that’s exactly what Huggies’ lawyers will bring up, and it could cause her to lose her child. Whether her intentions were to inform people or to mislead them is irrelevant. What matters is that the child has burns, from the diaper bursting or otherwise. My questions are, how did the diaper get so filled without her noticing? Why didn’t she check the diaper before putting him down for a nap? If it happened during his nap, how would it travel down the pants? Is she trying to cover up abuse to the child by framing Huggies? All I can see is negligence from the mother, if, in fact, the burns happened from the diaper.

    • Erin P says:

      you could not be more spot on! i’ve been saying this the whole time.

    • Anonymous says:

      The mother has stated on her Facebook page that her son was changed prior to taking his nap. He woke up 1.5-2hrs later screaming. The diaper was not full, but appeared to have a defect in a seam that she noticed at that time. While I understand your thoughts and had the same myself, a little research cleared up my misconceptions.
      Also, I don’t feel that a diaper should even have the POTENTIAL to cause chemical burns on a child! Perfect storm, rare circumstances, diaper defect, negligence… Whatever the reason, it just shouldn’t happen.

    • EileenV2 says:

      Unbelievable, just because it hasn’t happened to your child doesn’t mean it isn’t happening to others. My Granddaughter had chemical burns from her diaper, She wasn’t even wet. It’s just the contact on the skin that is all it takes sometimes. People stop blaming the parents and start taking action to get this horrific problem corrected before it happens to any other children

  8. Christina Bocek says:

    Jaguarpaw echoes my thoughts nearly exactly, although I would add that it’s possible to fill a diaper in a long (2+ hours) nap if a baby has more than one bottle previous to napping. My daughter has extremely sensitive skin, prone to redness and eczema: she also takes long naps. To have this sort of burn, she would need to have filled the diaper with urine and feces, then continue to sleep AND have eaten acidic food. No one has mentioned what the baby consumed, but in my experience that is the primary factor in skin reactions, not the diaper.

  9. Tracey says:

    what I find odd , is I just read this on a group page I belong to on facebook, but the post is from a women who lives in Pittsburgh, not NY. But, she has family and friends who live in her town (which is my hometown) and they all responded to her post (which includes this same photo) about her son, Parker….who they all know. I am left confused about all that…….if it is not her post, how do all the people know her and Parker. The reason I looked it up in the first place is it seemed like one of those posts that is spreading panic and possibly not real.

  10. Anonymous says:

    some the marks on the leg look like a partial handprint, maybe the burns are trying to cover up abuse

  11. Suzanne says:

    About 5 years ago, I bought Huggies diapers for my then 1 year old – having never used them before. I put on the first Huggie diaper and put her in the high chair for lunch. After a few minutes she started screaming and crying uncontrollably (a pain cry) and I took her out of the high chair thinking perhaps the buckle had pinched her skin. I could find no reason for her to be in pain but I held her while she shrieked for about 10 minutes and then wore herself out and fell asleep. I decided to change her diaper and put her down for a nap and then saw that she had what appeared to be chemical burns on her bottom. She’d never had a diaper rash before and this was a fresh and very painful looking burn. I assumed that when she urinated, it activated something in the diaper which caused the burn and hence her crying. We never used Huggies again – though we used several other brands of disposable diapers and never had that issue again. But I am certain that it was something in the diaper, there was nothing else that had come in contact with her bottom.

    • Eric Hall says:

      While I don’t doubt your overall story, there is a detail in here that very much represents why anecdote cannot be used to reach a conclusion. You said nothing else was in contact with her bottom. But, did she have a bath in the previous 24 hours? What about baby wipes?

      My whole purpose here is that we are all quick to assume the answer, when there are many more variables here not being controlled which are better explanations than the diaper. The diaper chemistry alone does not readily lend itself to causing a chemical reaction with skin.

      I am not assuming fault, but instead saying the low frequency of these incidents, and some basic knowledge of chemistry leads me to believe a different hypothesis is necessary.

      • Anonymous says:

        Eric, I really appreciate this post. I am a nurse who deals with infant’s diapers all the time, and have 2 children of my own who have both reacted to huggies diapers AND wipes. From my observations, the frequency is so low because it is SEVERELY under reported. The first thing that moms do when they have a diaper rash is either talk to other moms who always have a preference to one brand vs. another, and/or follow the hype, OR they go online, and find these raging other mothers who have done the same. I echo the previous comment about the diapers not exploding unless extremely full. Which I HAVE experienced because of -yes- laziness. But to blame the mother for negligence, I think is a little too harsh. I would NOT wake my child for a semi wet diaper, “in case” he might get a chemical burn. That should not be a worry.

        Our unit no longer uses chemical wipes. Only sterile chux to wipe premature infant’s bottoms, and we have seen a decrease of overall diaper rashes. There have been a strong correlation to the chemicals in wipes and burns, and I think it’s also because when most people wipe diaper areas, they want to close the diaper asap, and don’t let it dry completely, trapping moisture. Combined with a highly acidic urine/stool that some babies produce naturally, can cause a chemical burn from the urea.

        There is a great website that outlines a lot about the pH of urine and how it can affect rashes and contribute to essentially a chemical burn.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I have four grown children and saw that type of burn with only one of them. After some time, it became evident that something he was eating was causing it: jarred bananas. Apparently something in the way the bananas were processed (I believe they added tapioca, and I don’t know what else) had a bad reaction within his system, causing highly irritating stools. When I cut out the bananas, I had no further problem with this type of diaper rash.

  13. Susan Huntington says:

    This happened to my son in 2009 while using Pampers diapers. It was a terrible thing to experience. Initially, I blamed a new food that he had tried, watermelon. After a few sleepless nights and the help of the internet, I discovered it was the diapers. I happened to have some organic diapers on hand and immediately put one on him. I saw improvement right away.
    Just like this poor woman, people did not believe me, they all assumed that I was making it up and was looking to get rich quick.

  14. Anonymous says:

    my daughter is 4 m. old and has a sever rash on her butt. I don’t know how to get rid of it. I used baby powder with corn starch, its not working. what can I do? please help my baby she is in pain ever time I have to change her dipper she screams in pain. I stopped using the huggies but it has not helped yet.

    • anaymous says:

      Dont use baby powder causes infections use plain old cornstarch and air also put vasoline on at every change will help w the hurt felling cause pee n poo wont toch her skin

      • RobbiesMommy says:

        Use desitin or butt paste, works wonders better than those old fashioned remedies

        • nataliasmom says:

          I only said to use vasoline after every change cause it did wonderful and my daughter has not had a rash since.. she was on soy formula and also the acids n baby food caused rashes and pedi told me to use vasoline at every diaper change and that worked for me.

    • Eric Hall says:

      My initial advice would be if it is that severe to see a doctor to confirm there is nothing more serious going on.

      My personal research and experience (along with advice from my doctor) is not to use any powders, including cornstarch. They can actually contribute to the growth of fungus. Fungal rashes are pretty common in babies even without the use of powders. They usually have a “pimply” appearance to them. For those, an OTC fungal cream can clear them up pretty quickly. You can then put a nice thick diaper rash cream over it (A&D, Desitin, Buttpaste, etc). Also a bath with a couple cups of vinegar can help with the fungal-type rashes (this was all advised by my child’s doctor). Finally if you have a spot cleaner for your carpet, nothing wrong with letting baby run around without bottoms at all for awhile to let the area dry. Urine isn’t too bad to clean up if done right away.

      Again – if you are unsure in any way – make sure to get her to the doctor quickly. Better to err on the side of caution. But if it is fungal, it will clear up pretty quickly if you do the things above.

  15. Joanne says:

    Last night my grandson started screaming when we took off his diaper he had burns on his legs. This is not child abuse this is a problem with the diapers. The diaper did not explode and he had it on only one hour. This is huggies problem not child abuse

  16. Eric Hall says:

    For those with hypothesis of abuse or the diapers alone – those are both possibilities. However, to make the claim it is either of those things requires evidence. Until then it is simply a hypothesis. So far, we have not been able to get any pH change when adding liquids to the diaper material. The pH is reading the same before the liquid is mixed with the diaper material and after. The amount of liquid doesn’t seem to matter. The only thing that seems to change the pH is the addition of foreign materials (detergents in the case of my tests).

    Is it possible certain batches of diapers have some residue causing it? Is it child abuse? Those are possibilities, but considering my results (though informal and unpublished) they become a little less likely. I wrote the blog and did the informal tests as a start – I am working on trying to put together some more formal tests, but that will take some time.

    • EileenV2 says:

      Eric, it sounds like you have some investment or some connection with the diaper companies. Sometimes science just doesn’t give all the answers. I saw this with my own eyes. This is definitely a diaper problem, I really don’t care what science says. This needs to be dealt with and quickly. I think we should all start using cloth diapers with a diaper service if you don’t want to wash them yourselves. Put some people to work and get rid of the CHEMICAL DIAPERS THAT ARE HURTING ALL THE CHILDREN. Just because it doesn’t happen to every child doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.

  17. Sharon wiggins says:

    I too have experienced the same. My daughter kept telling me my grand daughter was having a diaper rash. Why ? How? when she is being changed every 1 to 2 hrs. After seeing her peri area. Dam it! It’s a chemical burn from the huggies. I told her do not use them. She stated huggies were the only brand that kept her dry. She started inserting women maxi pads. Which keeps the chemical from having direct contact.
    The chemical should be banned. WHT IS GO ING ON. I’M TAKING LEGAL ACTION TO HAVE IT BANNED.

    • Eric Hall says:

      Sharon – are you saying your daughter gets up all night, every hour or two, wakes up the child, and changes the diapers throughout the night? Have you considered the maxi pad is providing more absorbency, thus reducing the moisture in contact with the skin?

  18. Great post! Been reading a lot about avoiding home chemical burns. Thanks for the info here!

  19. Shanah K says:

    Thanks for posting this. I will say this: My granddaughter (will be 1 year in August) was wearing only Pampers from day 1. As she started to develop what appeared as a rash she was switched to sensitive Pampers. Her parents were using a rash medicine (store brand @CVS) and it was the only thing to ease her pain but never stopping the rash or discomfort.After months of this terrible rash, the doctor felt compelled to indicate it was probably chemical burns brought on by the diaper. They immediately switched to cloth diapers. Within 2 days, the rash is gone and there is no return of this terrible rash. I have read Pampers & Huggies information. I have read snopes and everything else. It is not bonk. They are saying it is not a chemical but the process in which the diapers are created. Great. My son was actually allergic to Pampers & Huggies when he was a baby (causing awful blistery pustules on his precious diaper area). My recommendation to any parent questioning diaper use is this: CLOTH!! Even the organic brands aren’t perfect.

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