New nappies for special needs children 'causing discomfort'


Children with special needs are experiencing “extreme discomfort” because of a new brand of nappy provided under a Health Service Executive scheme, according to the Special Needs Parents Association.

The association’s chairwoman Lorraine Dempsey, whose nine-year-old daughter Rianna has cerebral palsy, said the association had been “inundated” with calls from parents expressing concerns over the quality of the new brands, which are tearing, leaking and causing skin rashes.

The free nappy scheme is available to children over the age of three years who have not been toilet-trained because of a disability.

Each child is allocated an average of three nappies a day depending on their needs. They are distributed to parents by local health nurses.

Parents of children availing of the scheme received a letter from the HSE last month to notify them that the brand of nappies would be changing.

“The different sizing between the old brands and the new has been a problem but that can be easily rectified if other sizes are available,” said Ms Dempsey.

“The bigger concern is the quality. They are leaking and tearing, are very abrasive on the skin, ill-fitting and made with far poorer-quality materials than the previous ones.”

Younger children wear large baby nappies, while older children use a small adult size. Neither size is available in supermarkets, so parents are reliant on the HSE provisions, according to the parents’ association.