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There are so many styles of diaper bags ranging from small, convenient and labeled diaper bag pouches that you can throw into another bag, convenient carriers that snap around your waist for tight places like airplane bathrooms, fancy throw over your shoulder bags and all the way up to fancy backpacks that look ready for a long hike on the Appalachian Trail! Like all other products for baby, consider your specific needs.
Keep in mind that diaper bags are not actually children's products, and so are regulated differently. Some bags are treated with stain and water-resistant chemicals. While that sounds like a nice option, if the chemicals used are PFASs, they can pose health hazards. Some bags may be made with polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl) and phthalates. If the bags come with changing pads inside, they may contain foam made with flame retardants. Faux leather is likely PVC, and real leather may have been treated with harmful dyes, solvents, and even heavy metals. In addition, metal rings and zipper pulls may contain heavy metals.
Avoid decorations that could be physical hazards (like choking) for your baby. Because these bags are not made for children, keep straps and metal rings away from your baby.
You'll likely be using your diaper travel bag a lot so make sure that it is durable, easy to use and reach into with one hand so you can grab wipes and items quickly. Bags that are washable are handy. Consider whether the pockets and compartments inside will not only easily fit the diapers, gear and any extra clothing, a bottle or snacks you might need but also provide easy access. You don't want to be digging forever in your diaper bag to find things with one hand while holding onto a wiggly baby with the other hand (think of those keys or your phone hiding in the bottom of your purse!).
Look for a bag made of natural materials that you can easily wash. Nylon or polyester changing pad surfaces can be water repellant without harmful PFAS chemicals.
References & Resources
Learn more about the hidden hazards by reviewing the glossary or take a deep dive by reading Safer Products for Babies and Toddlers: Resources and Recommendations for Retailers.