Caring for Our Children (CFOC)

Chapter 5: Facilities, Supplies, Equipment, and Environmental Health

5.2 Quality of the Outdoor and Indoor Environment

5.2.7 Sewage and Garbage Containment of Soiled Diapers

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 8/9/2017.


Soiled diapers (disposable and cloth), and training pants should be stored inside the facility in containers separate from other waste. A secure, hands-free, plastic-lined container with firmly fitting and tightly covered lid, that does not require touching with contaminated hands or objects, should be provided, within arm’s reach of diaper changing tables, to store soiled diapers (1,2). The container for soiled diapers should be designed to prevent the user from contaminating any exterior surfaces of the container or the user when inserting the soiled diaper (1,2). Soiled disposable diapers do not have to be individually bagged before placing them in the container for soiled diapers. Soiled cloth diapers and soiled clothing that are to be sent home with a parent/guardian, however, should be individually bagged (2).

The following types of diaper containers should not be used;
a.    Those that require the user’s hand to push the diaper through a narrow opening;
b.    Those with exterior surfaces that must be touched with the hand;
c.     Those with exterior surfaces that are likely to be touched with the soiled diaper while the user is discarding the soiled diaper;
d.    Those that have lids with handles.
Separate containers should be used for disposable diapers, cloth diapers (if used), and soiled clothes and linens. All containers should be inaccessible to children and should be tall enough to prevent children reaching into the receptacle or from falling headfirst into containers (1,2). The containers should be placed in an area that children cannot enter without close adult supervision (1,2).

Separate, plastic-lined waste receptacles that do not require touching with contaminated hands or objects and that children cannot access enclose odors within, and prevent children from coming into contact with body fluids. Anything that increases handling increases potential for contamination (1,2). Step cans or other hands-free cans with tightly fitted lids provide protection against odor and hand contamination.
Fecal material and urine should not be mixed with regular trash and garbage. Where possible, soiled disposable diapers should be disposed of as biological waste rather than in the local landfill. In some areas, recycling depots for disposable diapers may be available. The facility should not use the short, poorly made domestic step cans that require caregivers/teachers to use their hands to open the lids because the foot pedals don’t work. Caregivers/teachers will find it worthwhile to invest in commercial-grade step cans of sufficient size to hold the number of soiled diapers the facility collects before someone can remove the contents to an outside trash receptacle. These are the types used by doctor’s offices, hospitals, and restaurants. A variety of sizes and types are available from restaurant and medical wholesale suppliers. Other types of hands-free containers can be used as long as the user can place the soiled diaper into the receptacle without increasing contact of the user’s hands and the exterior of the container with the soiled diaper.
Center, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS Type of Diapers Worn Handling Cloth Diapers Diaper Changing Procedure Procedure for Changing Children’s Soiled Underwear, Disposable Training Pants and Clothing Prevention of Exposure to Blood and Body Fluids
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. Managing infectious diseases in child care and schools: A quick reference guide. Aronson SS, Shope TR, eds. 4th ed. Elk Grove Village, IL; 2017.
  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Infections Spread by the Fecal-Oral Route In: Kimberlin DW, Brady MT, Jackson MA, Long SS, eds. Red Book: 2018 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases. 31st Edition. Itasca, IL:  American Academy of Pediatrics; 2018: 143

Content in the STANDARD was modified on 8/9/2017.