Next Time You Travel, Try Diaper Covers

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If you’re spending part of the holiday season in transit, and your entourage will include at least one child who’s not yet fully toilet-trained, you have a lot of potential messes ahead of you, at a time when it’s least convenient.

Whether you use disposable diapers, cloth, or something in between, this post is for you. But especially if your child wears disposables – whether tab diapers, pull-ups, or disposable training pants.

Have you ever tried diaper covers? If not, I cannot recommend them highly enough – especially for traveling.

We cloth-diaper at home, but even when we’re using “adventure diapers” (my husband’s name for using disposables away from home), I wouldn’t dream of being without two diaper covers: one to wear, plus a spare.

Why I Love Diaper Covers

As I’ve written elsewhere, travel is full of the unexpected, including unexpectedly long stretches between diaper-change opportunities. And as I’ve learned the hard way, blowouts that soil everything from your last clean outfit to the car seat come only when it’s least convenient (think hot summer day, hours from home), and even brand-name overnight-capacity disposables will leak through if you can’t replace them soon enough.

Enter the humble diaper cover. Twenty-first-century diaper covers aren’t the crinkly plastic things your mom may have used in the ‘70s and ‘80s. We’re talking soft PUL fabric in fun prints; you can buy them commercially made, or make your own if you like to sew.

Not yet convinced?

This is why you should love them, too:

    • First and foremost, they help protect clothing, car seat covers, and strollers from blowouts and leaks. ‘Nuff said.
    • They protect your little one’s backside from public changing tables, and vice-versa. When was the last time you found a public changing table that actually had a supply of those little disposable paper covers available? Exactly. With a diaper cover spread out under your child, you’ve got it covered – literally.
    • They turn almost any surface into a changing table. With the open diaper cover spread across my lap, I’ve changed blowouts while in a car on the side of the highway. I’ve changed record-breaking messes on my lap while stuck on an airport runway. I’ve changed diapers on the grass at truck stops, and on benches at parks. If you’re used to carrying extra receiving blankets or a stash of disposable pads to cover impromptu changing tables, along with multiple extra outfits in case your cutie has several accidents on a long trip, you’d be amazed at how liberating it can be to pare your on-the-go diapering supplies down to a small pouch.

  • They’re way cheaper than disposable training pants. Got a “big kid” who’s mostly toilet-trained, plus a long car trip ahead? Or a preschooler who doesn’t always make it to the potty in time? Though not all diaper covers work this way, some are designed to double as pull-ups, whether as a layer of insurance over regular underpants, or with an insert (reusable or disposable) to contain any leaks.

As for brands, there are a gazillion choices out there, and different brands work better for different needs. If you’re trying covers as insurance for occasional travel, you don’t need to spend a bundle; even an inexpensive brand with so-so ratings on things like “contains leaks” should work for your purposes. (Keep in mind that the people who are rating the covers are most likely hard-core cloth diaperers, and they’re worried about containing the overnight output of preschool-aged kiddos wearing cloth diapers with covers that have been washed hundreds of times, not a child wearing disposables under a cover that’s used a few times a month at most.)

You’ll need to know your child’s weight before you order, but keep in mind that disposables are less bulky than cloth diapers and factor that in when making your decision. If you don’t know where to start when narrowing down your choices, Diaper Pin has a lengthy list of reviews and ratings on different cover brands that will help you sift through the options and figure out what will suit your needs and your kiddo’s backside.

If you’ve never used covers before – especially if your kiddo has an ample midsection or is used to wearing zippered pants – you’ll also want to be sure to test out your child’s travel wardrobe with the cover on before the last minute.  Covers will add a layer of bulk, so you may need to adjust the waistband outward a buttonhole or two, or substitute a pair of stretch-waist knit pants for your child’s favorite jeans.

If you’ve used diaper covers before, whether because you cloth-diaper or as travel insurance, let us know in the comments which type(s) have worked best for you, and why!

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