Changing bums to change the world 0
Cute wiggly babies were the centre of attention at the Birds Creek Community Centre on April 21 while their parents attempted to set a new world record during the Great Cloth Diaper Change. MICHELLE ANNETTE TREMBLAY
There was lots of laughter on the afternoon of April 21 as eco-conscious parents corralled their wiggly babies in the Bird's Creek Community Centre to participate in the 'Great Cloth Diaper Change.'
With ages ranging from 2 months to two and a half years, a total of 17 youngsters all had their diapers changed at exactly 12:30 p.m. Elsewhere in the world thousands of other babies took part in the event as well, in an attempt to set a new world record for most babies changed into cloth diapers at one time.
"The original idea came from a woman in the US last year, to be held as a grand finale to Cloth Diaper Awareness week, and also to celebrate Earth Day," explained local event organizer Leslie Cox, owner of Bear Bums cloth diapers and accessories.
"My mission is to make cloth diapers accessible to Bancroft and area families, and to make cloth-diapering a rewarding experience," said Cox. "I sincerely hope that is what I am accomplishing!"
Participants seem to think so.
"I am so thankful that Leslie put all the hard work into this," said mom-of-two Susan Urban, who uses cloth diapers. "I'm glad there's someone in the area advocating for cloth diapers. We would never have known about the Great Cloth Diaper Change if she hadn't organized it and gotten everybody on board."
"It was a super event," agreed Heather Brandham, who brought along her five-month-old daughter. "It was well organized and fun!"
Participants enjoyed a pot-luck lunch and compared cloth diapering tips and stories as they waited for the Great Change to begin. Some diapers and accessories were available for purchase or trade, and many participants won prizes during a raffle.
"I had some very generous sponsors: AppleCheeks, AMP, Arbonne, Green Carbon Living, and Back to the Earth all donated items to be given away during the event," said Cox.
Last year, the Great Cloth Diaper Change set a Guinness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously, with 5026 participants at 127 locations in 5 countries. But, Cox explained, the real numbers were significantly higher than that.
"The actual total number of participants last year was 6,363 from 203 sites in 10 countries - but not all qualified for the record, as you had to have - according to Guinness World Record requirements - a minimum of 25 babies changed per site to qualify."
Unfortunately that means this year's event in Bird's Creek will not count toward the 2012 world record attempt. But according to Cox, it doesn't matter.
"In my opinion, the absolute total is the most important number," she said, admitting, "It's difficult to get 25 babies in one place at one time for a diaper change in a small community!"
Even though the Bird's Creek numbers won't affect the world record, they will still be included in the total that the Real Diaper Association will use and publicize.
"Events like this are great encouragement." said Cox.
Up until the past few decades, cloth diapering was the norm in North America and world wide. These days, however, approximately 90 per cent of Canadian babies use disposable diapers. Convenience, said Cox, is the reason why.
"20 to 30 years ago disposables weren't the appealing option that they are today. But now they are so convenient and trim that it has become harder to convince families to choose cloth over disposables," explained Cox.
She wants to help change this.
"Every disposal diaper that's ever been used is sitting in a landfill somewhere!" That's because, according to some estimates, it takes anywhere from 250 to 500 years for disposable diapers to break down.
But while disposable diapers have evolved in terms of convenience over recent years, so too have cloth diapers. No more are the bulky rubber pants; gone are the safety pins. Today's reusable diapers whisk away moisture and use snaps and Velcro for a custom fit, and the covers breathe andhave fun bright designs.
"It takes a bit of time to learn what to do, and to get a system set up that works for you, but the options that are available now are tremendous. And lets face it, cloth diapers are a gorgeous healthy alternative." said Cox, who does home consultations about cloth diapering and offers a trial kit to families so they can test out different styles of cloth diapers before they commit to a purchase.
Cox says her specific goals are to help local families save money, choose healthier products for their children, and to reduce the impact disposable diapers are making on the environment locally and globally. She offers gifts certificates and has a shower registry available.
"Businesses like mine, in rural communities, are helping the industry thrive because we are making the diapers locally accessible rather than just being available online," said Cox. "According to the Real Diaper Association, in recent years, cloth diapering sales have grown by over 30 per cent."
For more information about cloth diapering, visit the Real Diaper Association website at www.realdiaperassociation.org or Bear Bums at www.bearbums.ca