A doctor who removed plastic pieces of disposable diapers from the noses of two children says the diapers are potentially hazardous and should carry warning labels.
Between 1973 and 1985, the plastic outer covering of disposible diapers caused eight deaths, either by suffocation or ingestion, Dr. Charles Johnson told the American Academy of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery recently.
"They are a foreign body hazard posing a potential suffocation threat because diapers can so easily be torn apart and swallowed by children," he says. "Furthermore, they are very flammable."
He says there were seven reports of children being burned when diapers ignited.
But he says it's easy to virtually eliminate any hazard from the diapers -- just be sure the child is wearing something over them. "Reports made to the Consumer Product Safety Commission continue to show disposable diaper-related injuries occurring," he says. "These numbers are small, but even one death is too many."
A spokeswoman for Procter & Gamble, a leading manufacturer of disposable diapers, says children tend to put anything in their mouths and that disposable diapers are "one of the safest consumer products on the market."
Between 1973 and 1985, American families used 150 billion disposable diapers, she says. And in the '70s, 26 infants drowned in diaper pails, which are used for cloth diapers.