You think you’ve found the perfect daycare for your baby – the caregivers are really nice, the price is right, and it’s right down the street from your office! But you pick up your normally happy, healthy baby after work and find that your baby has been sitting in a full diaper that looks as though it should’ve been changed hours ago. What do you do if your baby’s daycare isn’t changing their diaper?
In the U.S., there are national guidelines, state laws, and daycare policies that mandate regular diaper changes. In most cases, it should be inspected at least once every two hours. Parents who are concerned that their baby’s diapers are not being changed frequently enough, or at all, have many options for how and where to address their concerns.
Keep reading for tips and resources on how to effectively and productively bring your worries to the attention of the right people and protect the health and happiness of your little one.
Is daycare not changing your baby’s diaper?
Many parents feel dissatisfied with the care their kids receive at daycare. In a 2018 research study of early childhood care, almost a third of participating parents reported that they would not choose to have their child in their current program of care again.
Specifically, it is common for parents to have worries and complaints about the diaper changing practices at their baby’s daycare. Internet parenting message boards are flooded with the cries of angry, concerned parents commiserating about the lack of diaper changing at their baby’s daycare.
We have good reason to discuss and deal with our daycare diaper problems. If your baby’s diaper is not being changed frequently, they are at an increased risk of developing serious health conditions that could have been avoided if proper health and sanitary practices were followed at daycare.
How often should diapers be changed at daycare?
You are probably immediately aware if your baby has a wet or soiled diaper, but it may be much more difficult to tell when caregivers are surrounded by multiple babies.
Daycare caregivers should check your baby’s diaper for wetness and poop hourly. Diapers should be visually inspected at least once every two hours, and whenever a child shows signs of discomfort or acts in ways to suggest they have a full diaper.
How long can a baby go without a diaper change?
How long your baby can go without a diaper change is mostly dependent on the type of dirty diaper you’re dealing with.
Due to the acid content of poop, soiled diapers should be changed as soon as possible to reduce the likelihood of skin irritation. It is not necessary to change every wet diaper immediately, but it is recommended that wet diapers should be changed every two or three hours.
Either way, your baby’s diaper should be changed immediately if they begin to demonstrate that it is uncomfortable.
What to do if your daycare is not changing diapers
Caregivers have guidelines they must follow for proper diaper changing procedures. The National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Childhood and Early Education outlines standards of care for diaper changing procedures in the child care setting. Your state government also has specific guidelines that daycare facilities must adhere to in order to maintain their license to care for children.
If you feel that your baby’s daycare is not changing their diaper as frequently as they should be, or if you suspect they are not changing your baby at all, this is a serious health concern that should be discussed and addressed starting with your baby’s caregiver and working up the chain of command if necessary.
Tips for Addressing Daycare Diaper Changing Concerns
Because diaper changing affects the health and safety of your baby, it is important to address your concerns as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are many options for how upset parents can tackle their concerns, and find solutions, to make sure that their baby is receiving the best care possible at daycare.
Speak to your baby’s caregiver directly
Find out which caregiver is in charge of your baby’s diaper duty and ask to arrange a time to speak with them.
Tell your baby’s caregiver about your concerns and be specific about what you are observing. You can highlight your common goals as caregiver and parent of your baby.
Ask them about their routine for changing diapers, and how often they are checking and changing your baby’s diapers. Try to be clear about your expectations for your baby’s diaper changes. Caregivers are required to keep a record of every diaper change, the contents of the diaper, and any concerns. You may even ask to see your baby’s diaper changing record.
Ask other parents if they are having the same issue
When it comes to parents, there is power and information in numbers.
Hearing the concerns of other parents at your baby’s daycare can help to validate that your own observations and concerns are valid and worthy of action. Ask other parents if they have any concerns about how often their child is changed at daycare. If there are other parents at your baby’s daycare that share your worries, ask them how they took action and what worked and what didn’t.
If there are other parents with unresolved concerns, you can make a plan together about what to do next and how to approach the matter with the daycare.
Talk to your daycare about their diaper changing policies
Set up a time to meet with the director or supervisor at your baby’s daycare and ask them for the specifics of their daycare’s diaper changing policies and procedures.
If you find that your baby’s caregiver is not adhering to the daycare’s policies, you can take the opportunity to bring the matter to the attention of the director or supervisor then and there.
Daycares spend time and money training caregivers on following appropriate procedures for changing diapers in the classrooms and will take corrective action with staff if they are not being followed.
Suggest a changing schedule for your baby
Many times our babies follow their own schedules for soiling and wetting their diapers.
If you find that your baby’s daycare is following appropriate diaper changing procedures, and you are still noticing full diapers when you pick them up, it’s possible that your child requires an alternate diaper changing schedule at daycare.
Ask your baby’s caregiver to perform diaper checks and diaper changes differently. You can even offer to set them up for success by developing a time-specific changing schedule that will work for your baby’s individual needs.
Get a note from your baby’s pediatrician
Bring your baby, and your full diaper concerns, to your baby’s pediatrician. He or she can rule out any possible health causes, and may be able to provide written recommendations for your baby’s diaper care that you can bring to your baby’s caregiver.
Bringing a doctor’s note to your baby’s caregiver may be just the ticket to increase the frequency of your baby’s diaper changes and reduce any preventable risks to your baby’s health caused by sitting in soiled or wet diapers too long.
Some health risks of wearing dirty diapers for too long include:
- Diaper rash
- Bladder infections
- Yeast infections
- An increased risk of staph infection
- Spreading bacterial infections
Research child care laws and policies
Every state in the U.S. has laws regulating daycare health and sanitary practices that are available to read and review online on individual state websites.
These laws are written with your baby’s health and safety in mind and protect them from neglectful care that puts them at risk. There are also daycare licensing regulations that must be followed legally to safeguard the health and well-being of your baby.
Report your baby’s daycare and find a better one
When all else fails, and your baby is still coming home to you with full diapers, please report your baby’s daycare so that actionable steps are taken to prevent further health violations by the daycare. Each state has a number to call to report child care violations of state health and sanitation laws.
When your baby’s health is in the hands of a daycare that just won’t comply, and you’ve reported the health violations to the appropriate authorities, withdraw your baby from the daycare, if you haven’t already. Pat yourself on the back for making a stand and ask other parents and friends for recommendations of daycares with caregivers that will care for your baby properly.
We hope we have reassured you that your diaper-changing worries are common ones and that there are many options for you to bring the matter to light and find solutions that work for the health and happiness of your baby at daycare.