Watching Hurricane Harvey made me think of what families could do in emergency situations if they run out of diapers. Living in tornado alley, I know that the possibility of natural disaster is something that looms no matter where you live. You might have hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or earthquakes. Any of these events could make you lose power or leave you or your town stranded without the ability to go get more supplies. Luckily, you have a lot of options on things you can use as diapers in an emergency.
This project started with a few assumptions. One, I'm assuming that you don't already use or have cloth diapers. Two, you aren't crafty at all and don't have any craft supplies. Three, you don't have any ability to look up a bunch of different ways to fold flat pieces of fabric into a diaper.
For using cloth as diapers, you need 2 parts: absorbent fabric and waterproof fabric. For the absorbent part of these diapers, I'm using different household materials. Any absorbent fabric will work. Look for cotton, bamboo and hemp. 100% is going to give you the most absorbency. Microfiber cleaning towels can also work, but they can't go directly against your baby's skin. For waterproof fabric, I'm using polyester fleece. Fleece isn't actually waterproof, it's only water resistant. However, if it's an emergency, you can get by with it.
Depending on the fabrics used, most of these diapers will only last about 2 hours. The thicker fabrics will last longer, use these for night time and naps.
For attaching the diaper to the baby, I'm assuming that there's no snappi, boingo or diaper pins available. Something we can all find around the house is elastic. Inspired by diaper belts, you can tie on a strip of elastic to use to secure the diaper. Elastic can be cut off a pair of underwear or pants and tied over the absorbent fabric to keep it on. You might also have an ace bandage with Velcro in your first aid kit that could work.
Depending on the length of the emergency, you might be able to get through without washing any of your emergency diapers. You can keep your dirty diapers in a bucket, plastic bin, trash can or laundry hamper. If you will need to wash your diapers, you can hand wash with a bucket and plunger or in your bathtub.
Absorbent Woven Fabrics:
Receiving Blankets, Swaddles, Pillowcases
Knit Absorbent Fabrics:
T-Shirts and Towels
Water Resistant Fabrics:
Polyester Fleece Blankets and Pants
Since my son just woke up from his nap, I thought I would try out using the no-sew fleece cover and a hand towel as a diaper. I am using a snappi to secure the towel. If you buy one cloth diaper supply for your emergency kit, get a snappi, a set of boingos or diaper pins. I would not use regular safety pins because they do not lock, meaning they can open and poke.
I used the newspaper fold on the hand towel. There are tons of different folds to use with different sizes of fabric. You can use folds for flat cloth diapers or folds for prefold cloth diapers. There's not really a right or wrong way to fold up your fabric. Use whatever works best for you!
Once he's wet through, I will update on how long this set up lasted. He seems very comfortable: crawling and cruising like normal!
I have tried some of these emergency options a few times now. The hand towel lasts about 2.5hrs, receiving blanket and t-shirt about 1.5hrs. The tie-on cover works significantly better than the fleece pants. If I was going to try for overnight, I would use the tie on cover with the pants.