Pampers, one of the UK’s most well known nappy brands, has recently seen its Active Fit and Cruiser nappies criticised by parents, with the BBC’s Watchdog programme looking into some complaints.
In the UK, parents experienced issues with Pampers Active Fit. Despite nothing changing about the packaging, parents noticed the nappies seemed much less padded than usual. And while Watchdog had some families trial the nappies with no issues, other parents felt they leaked more and become wet more rapidly.
So have Active Fit nappies changed? Yes, however at that time the only notice of the nappies having undergone a redesign was a small leaflet included in the packet. “You go out and buy what you think is a normal product and you get it home and you feel deceived – and cheated,” explained one mum interviewed by Watchdog.
In the USA, the Pampers nappies at the heart of the complaints were the Cruiser nappies. These are actually different to the UK’s Active Fit, and aren’t just a re-branding. Last year, Cruiser nappies were changed and US parents complained about leaks. The new Cruisers were also blamed by some for causing a rash on their babies. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is investigating the Cruiser nappy after the media reports and complaints from parents.
We spoke to Pampers about the problems, and asked what the company had to say about parents’ bad experiences. Aimee from Pampers, a mum herself, explained what happened and what the current situation is.
The packaging problem
Aimee told MFM the nappies that didn’t have any packaging changes were what’s called ‘pre-shipments’ – this is where the product is ready to roll, and the packaging changes are in the works, but haven’t come into effect yet. Pampers felt so confident about the new design, it went ahead. For this, says Aimee, Pampers are sorry. It’s taken on the feedback of mums and dads and now realises it should’ve done this differently – and next time it will. “Mums and dads are really important. They tell us what we’re doing right and what we’re doing wrong,” Aimee says.
A change to the packaging is happening right now, with some new packs appearing on shelves already.
The thinness and absorbency
So what about the thinness of the nappy? Pampers had thousands of used (yes, used!) nappies x-rayed to find out exactly what was going on inside. The result? Boys wee at the front, girls wee underneath, but no baby wees at the back.
While the new nappy is 20% thinner, Pampers says there’s still the same amount of absorbent material in the nappy. The thinness is because that material has been repositioned and put into the nappy in a targeted way. And while not the main aim of the game, this does mean it’s better for the environment than its predecessor.
Pampers says its research shows most mums and dads prefer the new Dry Max version of Active Fit – and with 1,200 babies heading to Pampers’ nappy testing centre every week, Pampers feels confident with the figures.
When it comes to leaks, Aimee said Pampers gets five complaints for every 1 million nappies sold, though it is always aiming for that to come down to zero!
The nappy rash
Pampers disagrees that its nappy is to blame for the rashes, and feels very strongly that nappies cannot cause nappy rash. “A third of babies have it at any given time,” says Aimee, referring to the NHS website stats. Do check out MFM’s advice on nappy rash – it’s been created in association with NHS Choices and is updated daily. It’ll fill you in on the causes of nappy rash, treatments and prevention.
What you can do
Pampers would love any mum or dad to get in touch to share their opinions. There’s a team of experts in the Pampers call centre who can give one to one advice. Whether it’s a gripe about the new packaging not rolling out straight away, or worries about leaks, or general nappy rash queries, Aimee from Pampers is confident the team will listen. You can call (freephone) 0800 328 328 1.
If it’s more info you want, on the homepage of Pampers’ UK website there’s currently a box asking ‘Questions about your new Pampers Active Fit?’ – here, Pampers has a whole lot of details on the new nappy, including videos explaining the redesign.