Breathable Diapers, They’re a Thing, and it’s Important.
by Parasol team.
Why is breathability important?
As with any item of clothing or fabric, breathability in a diaper is vital for healthy skin and user comfort. Breathability refers to a fabric’s resistance to air movement in and out of the weave or construction. A tightly woven or completely solid fabric won’t let any air in our out - less breathable. Whereas a more breathable garment will feature tiny pores in the fabric that are larger than water vapor molecules; therefore, said water vapor molecules escape.
A diaper is made of various layers and each layer has an important job to do. The outside layer (where you can see the cute prints), has the job of sealing all the waste in. In making the outer layer waterproof to keep the liquids inside many diaper brands do not add breathability to the features as that is perhaps outside of the scope of its work! The thing is, you can both trap liquids somewhere while allowing water vapor to escape. They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Yep, you can keep the bodily fluids contained AND let excess water vapor escape. Similar to having your cake and eating it too. Kinda? Come on! We’re all parents here!
Breathability is an incredibly important feature to keep the skin of your baby happy. It can drastically reduce the incidence of diaper rash and keep the skin of your baby feeling fresher. The prevalence of diaper dermatitis is inversely related to the breathability of diapers worn. Severe diaper dermatitis is reduced by 38-50% in infants wearing highly breathable diapers vs nonbreathable diapers.
Moreover, the tiny pores in breathable films or fabrics allow for odors to escape. The most common cause of diaper rash is prolonged exposure of the skin to the combination of urine and feces. Odors help notify parent’s it’s time for a diaper change and help avoid the baby’s skin from any excess exposure to irritating poop compounds.
Aren’t all diapers breathable?
Oh, no. There is a common misconception that all diapers are breathable and it couldn’t be further from the truth. The thing is, due to the soft cloth-like cover on the back of most diapers, parents understandably but incorrectly assume the fabric is breathable. That porous cloth is merely a cover to a thin film layer and often that film layer is not breathable or barely breathable. The soft part of the diaper you get to touch is merely a cover.
Breathability varies by culture.
Most baby diapers in Japan are highly breathable. On the other hand, diapers in Latin America and the Middle East usually exhibit low or no breathability. In many cultures, a diaper that allows odors to escape is seen as a bad diaper – one that isn’t doing its job of containment correctly. On the other hand, in Japan, highly breathable diapers are sought out exactly due to their odor escape as parents prioritize diaper changes over increasing the life span of a used diaper.
Parasol Diapers are ULTRA breathable.
We chose light and highly breathable fabrics that can help promote good skin health and help parents know when it’s time for a diaper change. Our outer cover is perforated with tiny pinholes for maximum breathability. Additionally, we designed our diapers to have minimal prints made from water-based inks. A minimal ink design is important for breathability as oil-based inks and dense patterns can clog up diaper fabrics. We’re not just a pretty face.
Its condensation, not urine.
A common sign of breathable diapers is a damp exterior. However, the humidity you may feel on the outside is not urine. The tiny pores in our breathable film allow for water vapor molecules to pass but is not big enough for a drop of water (or urine) to pass through. This means urine is well contained while water vapor gets to pass on through.
If you’re feeling a damp diaper outer cover this just indicates the breathable fabric has been doing its job and it is time for a diaper change.
How can I tell if a diaper is breathable?
Typically, you would look for the Water Vapor Transmission Rate and have the outer layers of the diaper tested at a third-party testing facility that can validate for water vapor transmission rate.
A simple way to test a diaper at home is to apply a cup of warm water (around 99 F – that’s the temperature at which urine comes out of the body) onto the diaper inner cover just where your little one would pee. You can try this on a Parasol diaper and whichever other diaper you are comparing to. Place both diapers face up on a metallic baking sheet or non-absorbent surface so that the outer cover is directly on the backing sheet. Leave them there for 5 minutes and come back to check on them. When you lift them there should be some condensation on the surface but most importantly when you feel the back cover you will feel a damp diaper if the fabric is breathable. You can directly compare how wet one is from the other and that will represent how much more breathable one is.
The thing is, at Parasol we think about what’s best for our babes every. single. day. Our mission to be transparent with parents and we want you to know the degree of scrutiny and detail that goes into our diaper development. It’s important to us that we have your baby’s bottoms covered - literally and figuratively.