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Cloth Diapers in Daycare, Do you know your state's regulations?

Posted by Bryana on 4/24/2012 to Cloth vs. Disposables

In the spirit of Real Diaper Week last week, I wrote to our state daycare regulations board asking if they would consider changing the wording about cloth diapers.  In our state of Virginia, the regulation stipulates that disposable diaper shall be used unless the child has an adverse reaction to them.  That is all it says.  There are no procedures on how to handle cloth diapers.  With this statement it is easy for Virginia daycares to hide behind state regulations and simply tell parents “it is against state regulations.”  

Prior to writing my letter, I took the time to look up the state regulations for all 50 states.  I found that only one state (sorry Tennessee) flat out said, “No cloth diapers.”  I found that two states, Virginia and Maine had the limitations that cloth diapers could be used but only if there is a reaction involved.  Ten states had no reference in their regulations at all in regards to disposable/cloth diapers.  The last 37 states all had procedures on how cloth diapers should be handled.  The procedures varied here and there but the bottom line was that the cloth diapers could be used.

In my efforts, to really sell the cloth diaper idea to our state regulation board, I made it as easy as I could for them to realize that there was no real reason to say no.  I made the following recommendations:

  • Parents shall provide a closable, waterproof container of some sort whether it is a waterproof wet bag that can be completely closed or a small diaper pail.  This container should be taken home each day.
  • Soiled diapers shall not be rinsed or washed by the daycare facility.  Dirty diapers as they are shall be placed in the container “as is”.
  • A waterproof cover must be used at all times and a clean diaper cover shall be used at every change.

There were a few other technical recommendations that I made but that was the basic just of it.  You and I know that it is just that easy, and I hope that the board realizes that as well.  I pitched that modern cloth diapers are not unsanitary as previously believed, that cloth diapering not only saves the parents money but also saves the daycare facility as well as the state since there could be fewer disposable diapers to dispose of.   I further explained to them that the cloth diaper industry is on the rise, it is creeping into the mainstream and that more and more new cloth diaper services are cropping up in the US.  (We had 4 in Virginia alone open in the last year.)  With their acceptance of cloth diapers, they could help our local economy by supporting these small businesses that sell and service cloth diapers.

While writing this letter to our state I began thinking of this long list of 37 states that do actually have a cloth diaper procedure written in their regulation.  I wondered if parents in these states have a hard time finding a daycare to take their cloth or is it not an issue?

Does your daycare accept cloth diapers?  Did you have a hard time finding one?  What state are you in?



Date: 4/24/2012 10:32:24 AM
Our home-based (technically a "Group/Family" daycare facility) accepts our cloth diapers for our 9 month old. We live in central New York state. The only stipulation we have received is that all of the dirty diapers must go home at the end of each day. We send a small wet bag for the dirties, and send over enough clean pre-stuffed pockets (so no folding, stuffing, or reusing covers) for one day and bring home everything at the end of every day. Our provider has fallen in love with the diaper
Date: 4/24/2012 10:35:43 AM
Actually in VA I haven't had problems. I just said my son needed them and provided a separate step trash can. Indiana is a problem, though, because they only allow cloth if they are washed by a commercial facility.
Date: 4/24/2012 10:39:17 AM
I live in Virginia and I cloth diaper and my kids are in day care. They never had a problem with it. The baby is breast fed so there is really no way for them to dispose of breask milk poo; those diapers come home "as is". The older one is a morning pooper so she rearely poops at day care. If she does they shake it off into the trash if it's solid. If it's a bit mushy they just send it home with the rest of the diaper. They put the used diapers in zip-top bags and then into a standard kitc
Rebecca S.
Date: 4/24/2012 10:48:47 AM
I'd be happy to send a letter as well. If you provided information about who to contact, I'd send a letter in a heart beat! RS
Lindsay W
Date: 4/24/2012 10:54:18 AM
I live in New Jersey and we had no issue with our daughter's daycare (a Goddard School franchise) using cloth with her. I provided her own pail, and I take home soiled diapers at the end of the day and bring a new wetbag for the pail each morning. I do use a flush-able liner in the daycare dipes, because it makes "find the poop" easier for me that night (and clean up much less... gross). Also, for solid BMs, it allows the provider to just dispose themselves with the regular diaper trash (thoug
Lindsay W
Date: 4/24/2012 10:57:28 AM
Oh, P.S. We use either Thirsties Duos (I pre-stuff the pockets and line) or Bum Genius AIOs; the more like a 'sposie the diaper is, the less resistance you'll get! I recommend bringing one with you when you go to interview daycares to show them just how easy it is. Also go equipped with a copy of whatever your state's policy is so that you can show you are informed. I approached the conversation like this, "I know you aren't permitted by state law to use cloth wipes, but our daughter is in cl
Date: 4/24/2012 11:31:46 AM
This is in MN statutes: "A. An adequate supply of clean diapers must be available for each child and stored in a clean place inaccessible to children. If cloth diapers are used, parents must provide a change of the outer plastic pants for each fecally soiled diaper change. Cloth diapers, except those supplied by a commercial diaper service, and plastic pants, if supplied by parents, must be labeled with the child's name." Seriously dated...plastic pants?
Date: 4/24/2012 11:43:36 AM
our daycare in italy is fine with using cloth diapers. they even said the local authorities encourage daycares to use them, as this reduces the trash for the city.
Date: 4/24/2012 11:48:39 AM
I'm in CA and we use cloth diapers with a daycare center. I know many daycares in the San Diego area say that they do not allow cloth diapers because they "are not allowed by the state" or "they are unsanitary". I never looked into the rules in CA because we found a center that would allow cloth. Can someone confirm that CA does allow cloth diapers? I am frustrated with the number of centers that do allow cloth, reducing our choice of care for our son. If anyone out there is part of a cloth diap
Date: 4/24/2012 11:49:45 AM
... If any of you have the time to educate more daycares, that would help SO much! Thanks.
Date: 4/24/2012 12:19:02 PM
Laura - I am impressed that you are in Virginia and have no problems! My sister here in Virginia has no problems either. Indiana was actually the state that impressed me the most. Only is the center themselves are providing the cloth diapers do they have to be commercially laundered. If the cloth diapers are provided by the parents then they do not. Here is the section of the regulations pertaining to cloth diapers: Sec. 96. (a) Staff shall use a deodorizing solution or granules in diape
Date: 4/24/2012 12:20:43 PM
OOPS- Cut off! (c) Caregivers shall handle cloth diapers furnished by the center as follows: (1) Waterproof diaper covers must be provided. (2) Caregivers shall use a fresh, clean diaper cover with each diaper change. (3) Caregivers shall keep the diapers and diaper covers in tightly covered containers between pick-ups. (4) A commercial laundry service shall launder the diapers and the diaper covers.
Date: 4/24/2012 12:20:57 PM
(d) Caregivers shall handle cloth diapers furnished by the parents as follows: (1) The diapers shall be kept separate from diapers used for other children. (2) Waterproof diaper covers must be provided. (3) Caregivers shall use a fresh, clean diaper cover with each diaper change. (4) Caregivers shall place the soiled diapers in a plastic bag, store them through the day in a tightly covered container, and return the diapers to the parent daily. (5) Caregivers shall keep the diaper covers in
Date: 4/24/2012 12:24:30 PM
Elizabeth - Here is a link to your state regulations. They do have a procedure for cloth diapers which leads me to believe that they are allowed!
Date: 4/24/2012 12:29:22 PM
this is what the regulations say about cloth diapers in CA: Soiled or wet clothing or cloth diapers provided by the infant's authorized representative shall be placed in an airtight container and returned to the authorized representative at the end of each day. (1) The airtight container shall prevent the escape of fluids and odors and be portable enough to give to the authorized representative. I live in ME and have never had a problem finding care for my son who was in cloth, and now
Date: 4/24/2012 12:40:44 PM
Amber, that's impressive; in Maine, it's actually illegal for daycare providers to use cloth diapers unless the child in question has a note from a physician. 1.147.6. Child Care Facilities using cloth diapers must comply with diapering guidelines available from the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Licensing and Regulatory Services. Cloth diapers may be used only when the child has a medical reason that does not permit the use of disposable diapers (such as allergic react
Date: 4/24/2012 12:46:41 PM
reactions). The child’s health care provider must document the medical reason. The documentation must be placed in the Child Care Facility’s file. If these comments are limited by a number of characters, it would be nice for the box to reflect that. . .
Date: 4/24/2012 12:54:12 PM
Thanks! I'll circulate that document to our San Diego Real Diaper Circle and the daycares in my community.
Date: 4/24/2012 2:06:17 PM
Unfortunately, regardless of state regulations, any daycare that is NAEYC accredited will only use cloth diapers if there is a medical reason (with a physician's note). See section 5.A.08:
Linda Auge
Date: 4/24/2012 3:03:27 PM
In Tennessee, my full time day care (which was not military) used cloth diapers on my LO, no issues. I provided ready to use pockets (so for the care giver it was an AIO) and a wet bag. They simply folded the used diapers up, snapped them shut and put them in my wetbag, I did all the 'work' when I got them home and brought them fresh diapers every morning. When we PCSed (moved) to Fort Polk, I learned that the Amry day care centers (CDCs) are required by Federal regulation to allow for the us
Linda Auge
Date: 4/24/2012 3:05:41 PM
Opps, got cut off...Federal regulation to allow for the use of cloth diapers (AR 608 14f)(with a Dr's permission - it is the same form all children are required to get signed, so it isn't even any more work on the parent or the registration people, nor does it have to be a medical reason, just with a Dr's note). They asked that I provide ready to use diapers and that they would change the cover every time even if it was an AI2 style, and to provide a zippered wet bag large enought to hold all o
Linda Auge
Date: 4/24/2012 3:06:52 PM
Guess I had a long comment... and to provide a zippered wet bag large enought to hold all of the day's diapers. Again, the care giver simply folds the soiled diaper and snaps it shut and I do all the 'work' when I get home. I really hope that Jennifer of CottonBabies DIAPER Act legislation gets enacted. And if anyone has any questions about the military regulations, please feel free to call me 706-575-1548.
Date: 4/24/2012 4:37:39 PM
Even if the state has procedures, the daycare has a right to refuse. Here in the Virginia Beach area, many and most daycares say no even if you provide a doctor's note stating that cloth is necessary.
Date: 4/24/2012 7:38:20 PM
I live in AZ and graduate next week and am looking for a job and day care this summer. All the places I have looked at wont let us use cloth diapers. There is a new organic day care that just opened that I would like to use but it's an extra 40 dollars a week for tuition. It's so hard but I'm still looking, thanks for the 3 points to bring up. Next time I'll bring some cloth diapers and wet bags and show them how easy it is and they don't have to rinse anything, I'll do that!
Judi C
Date: 5/2/2012 1:58:33 PM
SC is one that makes no mention of Cloth Diapers. I have a friend who's daycare will not even entertain the thought. He only goes part-time so it is really only 2 diapers a day, so she didn't fight it. I asked at the preschool where my son will start in the fall and they seemed fine with it. So I guess SC leaves it up to the individual daycare facilities.
Judi C
Date: 5/2/2012 2:15:12 PM
For the lady that mentioned the NAEYC standards...I looked at the document you posted the link to. There is now a second line to that Standard that says cloth diapers are permitted if (b) and (c) are followed, which is basically the same procedures for soiled clothing. Placing the diaper in a sealed bag and sending home the same day.
Date: 6/26/2012 8:07:44 PM
My daycare is in Virginia Beach and I am having a problem with it. Even with a doctors note they are hiding behind "liscensing issues". From what I've read if their liscenced then it's completely ok just pay attention on how you "dispose" of them. Bryana if you could provide the link you were looking at for here in VA then I'd appreciate it. I would like to double check and make sure what I was looking at was correct. Gotta get my ducks in a row!!!! Thanks!!!
Date: 2/1/2013
Could someone tell me what the TN regulation says and where I can find it. I am actually a physician who cloth diapers my child and am furious that the daycare won't allow cloth. Any help would be appreciated!
Date: 8/3/2013
I need to know where you found the TN regulations on cloth diapers bc I have searched for days and can't find it
Date: 8/23/2013
I'm also in TN and haven't had any luck finding a decent daycare that will cloth diaper. I think it's really sad that TN is the only state that says "no cloth diapers".
Date: 9/12/2013
Actually, It is fine in TN. It just doesn't specify. I do it, and have won twice because of this. DHS says NOTHING about not using them, and it's not against state law. Just daycares will try to say that, and when you ask them where they say "Oh, I guess I was mistaken".
Date: 9/12/2013
Also, if you ask your physician to recommend that cloth dipes be used, they will never argue it.
Date: 5/12/2014
Interesting. I would have never occurred to me that there were state rules regarding diapering.
Date: 6/17/2014
I live in Virginia Beach and my daycare is being just plain lazy and discouraging me from cloth diapering. First off they said no unless I have a docs note. Then I got a docs note, they are charging me $5 extra to cloth diaper. I am ready to provide a pail with a wet bag, all AIO cloth diapers. All they have to do is put it in that bag as is for me. How difficult can it be. I would hate to switch to disposables or pay that $5 more per week just to CD. Any suggestions ?
Date: 6/28/2014
I need help! I work at a daycare in NYS and I know the regulations on cloth diapering. My daycare has decided it's 'not sanitary' to keep the diapers in the classroom in a bag in my sons closed cubby (which would follow the state regulations) and will not let me use cloth diapers. I really don't care to afford disposables nor can I afford other child care as I get a discount where I work. Any suggestions?
Date: 7/3/2014
Yes many state regulations don't allow to use cloth diapers and some that do, don't have anything specific . they make it sound so complicated that it scares the day care workers who plain discourage parents from using them. I feel we should all get together and sign a petition to change state laws so that they make it easier to use cloth diapers.
Peta-Gaye Daniel
Date: 4/7/2015
In preparation to have the cloth diaper discussion with daycare centers during our daycare search, I gound New York State's regulations for cloth diapers in daycare... (o) The provider must use disposable diapers or arrange with the parent(s) or a commercial diaper service to provide an adequate supply of cloth diapers. (1) When disposable diapers are used, soiled diapers must be disposed of immediately into an outside trash disposal, or placed in a tightly covered plastic-lined trash can in an area inaccessible to children until outdoor disposal is possible. (2) Non-disposable diapers must not be laundered in the small day care center, and must be stored in a securely covered receptacle until returned to the diaper service. When parents provide nondisposable diapers, soiled diapers must be placed in a securely tied plastic bag and returned to the parent at the end of the day.

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