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Is Your Dirty-Diaper Etiquette Up to Snuff? Mine Isn't, Apparently

Dirty diaper

Are all trash cans not created equal?

I’ll readily admit (and have) that I haven’t always changed my baby’s diapers in the most appropriate places.

Disposing of them however, is a different story. When I’m home, they almost always go into the diaper pail. The only time they don’t is when I’m bathing the baby in the kitchen sink, at which time I’ll just toss the dirty diaper in the trash compactor. When I’m out and the baby gets changed in a public bathroom, the outgoing diaper gets laid to rest in the bathroom trash there. No big deal, right?

Apparently it is. I was reading the Social Q’s column in The New York Times in which a party host gets all bent out of shape because some parent had the nerve to throw a dirty diaper in the bathroom trash. Which made me wonder where, exactly, the host would have preferred the diaper be disposed of instead.

How’s your diaper-disposal etiquette?

Here was the question in The New York Times:

We had a barbecue and invited a number of friends, almost all of whom brought children. Three days later, I noticed a terrible smell coming from our guest bathroom. I found a dirty diaper deposited in the trash can. When I asked some friends with babies if they thought any social lines had been crossed, they thought nothing of it. What do you make of this? Sarah, Chicago

And this was the response:

Other than that your friends are certifiably insane? No one leaves dirty diapers in a guest bathroom. The kindest spin may be that the errant diaper-changer didn’t want to draw attention to poop during food service. But even that’s a stretch. Diaper protocol at other folks’ homes is not so complicated: Place the dirty diaper in a plastic bag (and twist-tie it shut), then place that bag inside your diaper bag, and ask your hosts where they would like you to dispose of it — presumably in a trash bin outdoors or an inside bin that’s emptied frequently. Child’s play, right?

Both the question and the answer had me going, “Huh?”

I can see how finding a diaper in a non-bathroom trash can (in a non-baby home) could potentially get someone bent out of shape. I would only throw my baby’s diaper in my kitchen trash, no one else’s. And that’s just because I only throw it into the compactor (which seals in all odors) at bath time and it if it’s a pee diaper. I don’t throw diapers in places other than bathrooms or diaper pails otherwise.

But if you have friends with diaper-age children to your home, do you expect them to pack out their diapers or ask for permission to use a bathroom trash can? All of the time — when I’m home and out — I fold the dirty diapers into themselves and use the diaper tape to get them all closed up and tight, and I suppose most of the time I put them in the disposable diaper bags before putting them in trash cans when I’m outside of my home if it’s a diaper change that required wipes.

I just think it’s kind of odd to suggest guests should have to ask if it’s OK to throw away a properly wrapped, used diaper in a bathroom trash can?

And how infrequently do you empty your trash cans that this is even an issue — particularly if it’s after a party when you know a guest bathroom has seen more traffic? Do women who are guests in those homes also need to ask permission before throwing away used sanitary napkins and tampons in the trash?

Or am I just an entitled mom who expects everyone should be nonplussed at the sight of a diaper that has been disposed of neatly in a place that is meant to accept trash?

How’s your diaper-disposal etiquette?

Photo credit: iStock

More from Meredith on Baby’s First Year:

Read (even) more from Meredith at Babble’s Strollerderby, follow her on Twitter, and read her weekly syndicated newspaper column at MeredithCarroll.com

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