How to Prevent a Diaper Blowout and Everything You Need to Know to Handle One

How to Prevent a Diaper Blowout and Everything You Need to Know to Handle One

An occasional diaper blowout may be inevitable, but most can be prevented by changing your baby regularly and using high-quality, well-fitting diapers.

For parents and caregivers, the words “diaper blowout” are enough to elicit groans of despair. Discovering that your little one’s diaper has leaked in the messiest possible way, especially when you’re out and about, is a major inconvenience, to say the least. 

Unfortunately, the occasional diaper blowout is pretty much inevitable. Babies’ bowel movements can be unpredictable, especially in the infant stage, so it’s important to know what to do when leaks happen. As you get more experienced, you’ll know exactly what supplies you need to clean your baby and deal with the mess—even in a public place. 

However, diaper blowouts shouldn’t be part of your routine, nor should they stop you from doing things and going places with your baby. We've put together a list of practical steps to minimize the likelihood of major leakage. Let’s get started!

Strategies for Preventing a Diaper Blowout

Strategies for Preventing a Diaper Blowout

While many factors contribute to diaper blowouts, you can significantly reduce their frequency by following these easy strategies.

Choose a Diaper You Can Trust 

Perhaps the most important way to avoid diaper blowouts is to ensure that your baby is wearing a diaper you can trust. This means regularly checking that the diaper is the correct size. Every diaper package will specify the weight range for each size. Leaks are more common when using the wrong size diaper, so if your baby is close to one end of the weight range, you may want to try the next size up or down.

Choose a reliable diaper brand with design features aimed at reducing blowouts. Stretchy leg cuffs, an elasticated waistband, and strong fastening tapes are essential for containing leaks. The waistband should be snug but not too tight; it shouldn’t leave red marks on your baby’s skin, and you should only be able to fit two fingers inside. Diapers with an ultra-absorbent core and a high back (like VeryVery’s extra-soft diapers) can also be very helpful in stopping the dreaded “up-the-back” blowout. 

When your little one starts rolling and crawling, you’ll need a diaper designed for active babies, with excellent absorbency and a stretchy yet snug fit. For older babies and toddlers who are constantly on the move, “pull-up” style diapers without fastening tapes may be more secure. Make sure to read reviews from other parents who can vouch for the diaper’s fit and absorbency.

Change Your Baby’s Diaper Frequently

Keeping your baby in a clean diaper is another easy way to avoid leaks. The best diapers feature moisture-wicking materials to keep your baby dry and comfortable, but even the most absorbent diapers can leak if left on for too long. 

For a newborn, expect to do roughly 10 diaper changes every 24 hours, or one every two to three hours. Their stools often have a very wet consistency, which makes blowouts more likely, especially if the diaper is the wrong size or not absorbent enough. By the time your baby is six months old, you’ll be using fewer diapers—roughly six per day. However, no matter their age or the time of day, babies need to be changed immediately if you notice that they’ve had a bowel movement.  

Besides increasing the likelihood of leaks and blowouts, wearing a wet or soiled diaper is a major cause of diaper rash. Babies have very delicate skin, and coming into contact with urine or stool can quickly result in redness and irritation. Being proactive about diaper changes, rather than waiting until you can see (or smell) that they need a change, is key to keeping your baby comfortable and avoiding messes.

Consider Your Baby’s Diet

Your baby’s poop undergoes significant changes as they pass through the newborn, infant, and toddler stages. Their diet can also affect the frequency and consistency of their bowel movements. Depending on age, diet, and other factors, your baby may poop multiple times every day or once every two or three days, all of which are normal. Formula-fed babies are somewhat more likely to experience constipation than their breastfed counterparts, which can lead to messier bowel movements when they eventually happen. 

Blowouts are more likely when your baby is ill, as even the best diapers may not be able to contain diarrhea. If your baby is experiencing frequent blowouts or you are concerned about their bowel movements, it may be worth consulting your pediatrician. Stools that have an unusual color (such as white or gray) or are mucousy, watery, or bloody could be a warning sign of food intolerance or another medical issue.

Decide Whether You Need Extra Protection

If you’re still experiencing frequent blowouts despite regular changes and a snug fit, it may be worth considering extra protection. Certain brands offer extra absorbency, including diapers designed to last up to 12 hours for overnight use. Some styles feature an extra-high back or a “blowout barrier” to help guard against up-the-back leaks.

Alternatively, you might consider using cloth diapers instead of disposables. Some parents report that diaper blowouts happen less frequently with cloth diapers, thanks to the strong elastic around the back.

Dealing with a Diaper Blowout: A Step-by-Step Cleanup Guide

If a diaper blowout happens, stay calm! You can handle this. Follow these simple steps to clean up any mess, no matter where you are. 

1. Be Prepared

The most important thing is to be prepared. Always keep a diaper changing kit handy when you’re going out, including diapers, baby wipes, plastic bags for storing soiled clothes, and a portable changing pad. You should always have at least one change of clothes for your baby. 

At home, make sure to keep your changing area stocked with diapers and wipers, along with the necessary cleaning and laundry supplies. 

2. Contain the Mess

When you discover that a diaper blowout has happened, the first step is to contain the mess. Lay your baby on a changing mat or towel, and use baby wipes to remove any excess poop that has escaped from their diaper and clothing.

3. Remove Clothing and Diaper

This is the tricky part. Carefully remove your baby’s soiled clothing and diaper, taking care not to spread the mess. This is where plastic bags come in handy—you'll need one for disposing of the diaper and dirty wipes. Having another one for your baby’s dirty clothes is highly recommended, so you can contain the mess until you have a chance to clean them properly. 

4. Clean Your Baby's Skin

Once you’ve removed any soiled items, it’s time to clean your baby. If you’re at home, heading straight for the bathtub may be the best option. Use warm water and gentle soap on your baby’s skin, then gently pat them dry with a soft towel. If their skin looks red or irritated, giving them some time to “air dry” may help ease diaper rash symptoms. Then, it’s time to apply diaper rash cream, put on a fresh diaper, and dress them. 

If you’re out in public, use as many baby wipes as you need. Try to clean your baby’s delicate skin as thoroughly yet gently as possible before putting them in a new diaper and clean clothes.

5. Clean Up the Surrounding Area

Once your baby is clean and dry, you’ll need to wipe down any surfaces that have come into contact with their poop. Using disinfecting wipes can make this job much easier. 

6. Dispose of Waste Properly

Seal all of the waste and soiled items in a plastic bag, and dispose of them in an outdoor trash can. You’ll need to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Ensure that your baby’s soiled clothes are securely contained in a waterproof bag if you are taking them home with you.

7. Take Action to Prevent Stains

By acting quickly, you may be able to avoid permanent stains on your baby’s outfit, even after a particularly messy blowout. Try to avoid rubbing the poop into your baby’s clothes by removing it with a plastic spoon or a knife. You’ll want to treat the clothes with a pre-wash stain remover and soak them for around 15 minutes in warm water. 

For particularly stubborn stains, you could use bleach or a product like OxyClean Baby. Ideally, this treatment means that there won’t be any evidence left of the blowout after the clothes are washed. If you’re still seeing discolored areas, apply more stain remover and wash again. Avoid putting clothing in the dryer until the stain is gone, as the heat will set it permanently.

Why Do Diaper Leaks and Blowouts Happen?

Many factors can contribute to diaper leaks and blowouts. Understanding the most likely causes can help you take the necessary steps to avoid them or at least make them a very rare occurrence. 

Stool Consistency

Leaks and blowouts are most common during the newborn stage, when babies’ stool consistency is loose and watery and they are having multiple bowel movements every day. Diet can also affect stool consistency, especially during major changes such as switching formula brands or introducing solid foods. Food intolerances and digestive upsets can also make your baby’s bowel movements frequent and unpredictable. 

Diaper Design and Fit

Babies grow incredibly quickly, and it doesn’t take long for them to outgrow their current diaper size. Too-small diapers are a major cause of leakage, as the diaper isn’t substantial enough to absorb the liquid or contain the waste. A diaper is too small if it’s leaving red marks on your baby’s skin or if you can’t fit two fingers inside the waistband. On the other hand, a too-large diaper is likely to have gaps, especially around the leg cuffs and at the back, which makes it easy for liquid to escape before being absorbed. 

If your baby appears to be wearing the correct diaper size, but leaks and blowouts are still happening regularly, the diaper design and materials may be the problem. Consider switching to an ultra-absorbent diaper with additional features for containing blowouts. 

Baby's Activity Level

When your baby starts moving, their diaper will need to move with them. Having a diaper that fits correctly and stretches with your baby is especially important when they begin rolling, crawling, and cruising. It will need to be robust enough to stay securely on their body, with strong elastic and fastening tapes. 

Environmental Factors

Temperature and humidity can impact diaper performance. Adhesive tapes may become less effective in the heat, while the core can absorb moisture from the air and become saturated more quickly. In hot and humid conditions, perspiration can lead to discomfort when wearing a diaper. Changing your baby regularly is essential for ensuring that they stay dry and that their diaper functions properly.

Caregiver Awareness

If you've never changed a diaper before, it can feel like a steep learning curve, but you'll be amazed at how quickly you master the process.

Many newborn diapers have a wetness indicator that changes color, conveniently alerting you that it’s time for a change. When applying a new diaper, ensure that the adhesive tapes are securely fastened in the correct place and that the leg ruffles aren’t accidentally tucked in, as this is a major cause of leakage. Keep an eye on the fit so that you know when it’s time to move up to the next size or switch diaper brands.

How VeryVery Diapers Keep Babies Dry and Comfortable

VeryVery Diaper

VeryVery diapers were designed with leak prevention in mind. As a brand led by parents, grandparents, and childcare professionals, we understand the importance of keeping your baby dry and comfortable, while giving parents the peace of mind that they won’t have to deal with messy blowouts. 

As many satisfied parents have reported, VeryVery diapers are among the softest and most absorbent you can find for your little one. Designed with gentle, eco-friendly materials, our hypoallergenic diapers are free from latex, fragrance, bleach, and lotion. 

With strong and secure fastening tapes and an elasticated waistband and leg cuffs, VeryVery diapers offer a snug yet comfortable fit that’s just as good for active toddlers as for newborns. For additional protection, VeryVery diapers feature a high back and a long, extra-absorbent cotton core that offers up to 12 hours of leak protection, even overnight.

Final Thoughts

For new parents, the thought of dealing with a diaper blowout is a daunting prospect. Yet if you keep a well-stocked diaper bag with a change of clothes and easy-to-use cleaning supplies, there’s nothing to fear. Whether you’re at a cafe, the park, or a playdate, diaper blowouts can happen anywhere, but you can handle them!

Most importantly, you can minimize the frequency of diaper blowouts simply by following a few easy steps. By ensuring your baby is changed regularly and wearing a well-fitting diaper, you can make diaper blowouts few and far between.

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