One of the joys of having small children around is that it forces you to constantly think about sanitation and the handling of wastes. (or is that just me?) We cloth diaper our younglings, and that entails a hands-on approach that disposable diapering sidesteps. We don’t just wrap up the poop in the plastic diaper and send it to its slow death in the landfill, we put the poop into the toilet and flush it to the waste water treatment where they are properly set up to deal with such deposits. Then we wash, line dry and repeat. Did you know, it is illegal in most states to dump human waste in landfills? That law is simply unenforced when it comes to diapers.
Theoretically, they could infest the water leaching out of the dump with bacteria and viruses (polio, hepatitis, dysentery), though that has never been known to happen. Perhaps the other ingredients in leachate are toxic enough to kill human pathogens. Perhaps the diapers are so nondegradable that they don’t leak their contents. Perhaps we just haven’t waited long enough. source
So, that’s all well and good on a daily basis, and of course as preppers, we’re aware of how quickly disposable diapers become worth their weight in gold during a crisis event. We figure by using cloth diapers, we’re insulating ourselves from that risk, to a certain extent. The question comes up though, what would we use if we had to bug out?
If we’re living rough somewhere does the equation change in favor of the disposables? In my mind, no. I admitted on Tuesday that we use the disposables for our pleasure camping. But, when it comes to bug out, I’m still strongly in the cloth camp. Bug out is not pleasure camping. Bug out means we’re trying to keep everyone safe, and healthy, away from our house, probably for an unknown length of time. We’re not going to suddenly have more money to blow on (likely more expensive because of the emergency) disposable diapers. And while it might be difficult and/or time intensive to keep cloth diapers washed and dried in some rough living situation, it would be impossible to wash and dry a disposable for reuse. Taking disposables in a bug out situation means you are gambling your baby’s health and comfort on being home again (and restocked in diapers) before you run out of that package. It won’t surprise you I think, to learn that I’m not a gambler.
What happens when all the cloth diapers are dirty Calamity!? All of the places I have in mind as possible bug out locations have running water. It may just be a creek, but water is available. I would take most of our cloth diaper stash, the whole stash barely takes up more room than a couple packs of diapers would. We would be taking one bucket for adult potty business, and one more bucket would serve for diapers. We would put the dirties in the bucket, with a securely fastening lid. This will keep critters out, and stink in. Washing diapers would require some hot water, but that shouldn’t be an issue, as most of our meal will require that too. Washing diapers would require some soap, and agitation, and some time, as well as a line to dry them on. Again, not a big deal, as clothing/underwear/bedding would require the same thing for any bug out longer than a day or two. So most everything we need for cloth diapers, we’re going to need for other reasons anyway, and switching to disposables won’t save us any space in the pack.
Do you have a sanitary plan for your bug out location? Does it include any babies? Have you thought everything through? Prep smart folks!
– Calamity Jane