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The Case for the Great Diaper Cover-Ups

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In the war of the diapers--disposables versus cloth--a little fashion item has become ammunition for the cloth contingent.

It’s the waterproof diaper cover that closes with Velcro. The decorative shell (usually cotton) has a cotton or synthetic liner that “breathes” and holds a cloth diaper in place without pins.

Labels--such as diaperaps, Ecology Kids, Nikky, Dappi and R. Duck--make it a cinch for parents to say “no” to disposables, discarded at a rate of 16 billion a year. Yuppies are on the battlefront, but Stan Fridstein, president of Right Start Catalogue in Westlake Village, thinks it’s a mistake to tag the trend. “I don’t think people are using it for image purposes, and that’s what I associate with yuppiedom.”

The covers have a definite presence. Right Start Catalogue, for example, sells $8.95 Fashion Wraps patterned with balloons, animals, hearts and paint-splashed denim. At the Juvenile Shop in Sherman Oaks, which stocks three brands priced from $17 to $8.50, co-owner Lauren Logan says her “upscale customers” prefer plain colors and often buy six at a time.

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‘ “I can’t imagine putting those paper-and-plastic contraptions on a baby when you can use cotton,” says Marjorie Magidow, president of R. Duck Co., makers ofpull-on Rubber Duckies. With parents preferring not to launder diapers at home, California’s major service, Dydee, based in Pasadena, reports a 30% increase in business. The company charges $11.60 a week for pick up and delivery of 90 diapers. That works out to 13 cents a diaper compared to disposables at “15 to 30 cents each,” says owner Brian O’Neil.


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