June 24, 2004

Please Redesign the Diaper Genie

Dads should be the greatest beneficiaries of the Diaper Genie's magical powers. Even if you don't change every diaper (Remember EBB?), you're still probably the one to take out the trash.

If that's the case, Playtex's Diaper Genie, like so many products in the baby industry, is designed against you, not for you.

The Diaper Champ, not to be confused with a much less user-friendly competitor[Quick Diaper Genie Primer: you feed dirty diapers into a customized, tube-like garbage bag, which you twist after each one. When the underlying garbage can is full, the Genie slices the top, and you catch a long, largely odor-free linked sausage-looking chain of diapers in another garbage bag, which you then drop in your neighbor's garbage can. In the middle of the night.]

The Genie supports the diaper changer's stuff-and-twist process OK (remember, for baby companies, diaper changer=mom). But then some trash-taking-dad-hating Diaper Genius put the lid on the bottom, and it is an awkward pain in the butt to empty the thing and reset the bag.

So why not get something else? There's the Diaper Champ from BabyTrend [shown here], which has one-handed operation and which uses regular garbage bags. According to Amazon, "People who bought" the expensive, incompatible Diaper Genie liner refills also bought the Diaper Champ. Do you think it's because their Diaper Genie sucked?


The Diaper Champ doesn't suck, precisely. It just kinda blows. And I mean the first one figuratively and the second literally.

The Champ is, well, a champ at containing the smell and mess of all those diapers. And whether or not it *is* a lot cheaper to use regular garbage bags, it *feels* a lot less expensive, so there's that.

But when it's time to empty it, you're faced with essentially an open bag full of week-old poop, with a fresher layer on top.

Mmmm. Yummy.

And then to take that bag out and knot it tends to require the explusion of a fair bit of (heavily toxic) air, which as often as not will blast you right in the face and will in any case stink up the room you were trying to keep relatively stink-free.

So the Diaper Champ is great most of the time, exccept when it blows.


The Champ, and a few others, just seems to be too convoluted. It's almost as if they make it more complex so you will think it actually works better. We've always just had the Diaper Dekor - it's basically an air-tight garbage can, open the lid with the foot peddle and drop in the diaper - no hands! And when it's full, pull out the bag, cut it at the top and twist the end for a new bag. Quite simple.

The refills last a while but be sure to get them before you actually run out - we had to visit the only BabiesRUs in our area a couple of times before they had restocked them.

The big problem with the Diaper Champ is the weighting of the top lid. There's really no way to prop it open while removing or changing bags... It slams down on my fingers every time. (By the way, we've been using regular kitchen garbage bags with it and it works mostly fine.)

I've never understood why urbanites feel the need for these ugly plastic contraptions with unjustifiably large footprints. Wet diapers don't really stink (especially with all the new perfumed diapers). As for dirty diapers, we just immediately put them into a plastic grocery bag (free), tie it up, and put it by the front door so that the next person to go out can drop it in our building's garbage chute on their way. Its cheaper, easier, and you never have the regrettable experience of dealing with a yards long chain of stinky old diapers. And I just cringe when I see one next to, say, and Eames rocker.

My wife insisted on the Diaper Genie because all her friends said how wonderful it was. Well, they apparently left out the part where the sausage will sometimes explode and everything comes unraveled at light speed. Not to mention the $5 per cartridge.

Fortunately, a neighbor gave us the Diaper Champ. I agree with all the comments above. It's relatively easy, but sometimes poop gets a bit fermented, and then weee hoo. Being that we are suburbanites rather than urbanites, we don't have a garbage chute Iím afraid.

I have to add that maybe the best thing about the Diaper Champ is our son's fascination with it when I'm changing bags. I'm just amazed the lid has come crashing down on him and slice his hand, but then he likes to live dangerously.

Big fan of the champ. My favorite thing about it is the built in alarm clock. When I hear the cuh-chunk, cuh-chunk of the piston ramming another diaper down coming through the wall at 6am, I know that it is time for me to get up and play with the little one.

We use the Diaper Champ and have no complaints. Yeah, the stink can be overwhelming when it's ready to be emptied, but we've been using scented kitchen garbage bags and it helps quite a bit. I think Glad makes them.

We had 2 Diaper Genies for a while (1 upstairs, 1 down). Removing the full bag and putting in new refills were a real pain-in-the- butt. Had a few problems with "sausages" unraveling or tearing as well. The biggest problem was the cost of all those refills! Especially with 2 kids in diapers (those things filled up fast).

I've gone with a much simpler system now. Our newspaper is delivered each morning in a long, narrow plastic bag. It's just the right size for diapers. Throw a dirty diaper in, twist the end to contain the smell, and voila. At the end of the day, tie the thing off and drop in the garbage. The money I've saved on buying Diaper Genie refills has more than paid for my newspaper subscription. :-)

I've found the Diaper Champ to not work very well. The tape from the diapers gets caught up in the piston and it jams up, and if you've got more than a couple diapers in there they pile up on top of each other and it jams up again. Eventually it gets real smelly too.

If you buy one I recommend a few things. First, before you put a diaper in, wrap the tape around the diaper to keep it compact. This is hard to do one-handed, but it helps. Second, give the thing a shake every once in a while to settle the diapers to the bottom so they don't pile up inside. Last, for poopy diapers it's really best to tie it up in a plastic bag before you drop it in. Make sure to squeeze the air out of the plastic bag first or the whole lump will be too big and also jam up the piston.

What we end up doing is dropping the diaper in, spinning the piston around and then pushing the piston down with the bottom of a can of air freshener (you don't want to touch it with bare hands), and then spray a little spray into the cylinder to keep it fresh smelling.

Is it still worth it to go to all this extra work? Don't know- you may just be better off with a normal trash can.

Okay, let's start by being completely upfront: I work for the ad agency that helped launch the neat! Diaper Disposal System from Safety 1st. And so I'm not going to make believe I'm some "innocent" random dad who recommends it. But the thing is, I can honestly say that it IS a smart, well-designed, helpful product. It DOES control odor better than the others. It IS truly easy-to-use. I can say this because I've worked with it. because I know the people who've created it. But mostly, because I've used it. Take it for what it's worth. And thanks.

To which I would add, I just 699 more people buy a Neat Diaper Disposal System from Amazon, I'll be able to pay off the Bugaboo.

We use a cloth diaper service for Luka, which is worth every penny we pay. I used the Genie for my first daughter, and I can't say I was impressed. Even when it worked, I found the smell of the bags just as bad as the stench of shit[EDITED. THIS AIN'T THE F***IN' SENATE, YOU KNOW].

These days, we keep wet diapers inside and polluted diapers on the deck, off to the side. When it's time for pickup, I stuff everything into one bag and let the diaper dude handle the rest. I do get a few nosefuls of unpleasant vapor, but after five kids, I don't have much sensation left in my nose.

Two words: Diaper Dekor.

Have to vote against the Genie and for the Diaper Dekor +. We have a 4 month old, and it will hold about 2 weeks of diapers with no odor, and not risk of explosion when being transported outside. The same cannot be said for a fellow co worker who uses the Genie, the poopie sausage gave way and well, you can figure out the rest.

Operation is completely straight forward, pop the lid, drop the diaper, off you go. Anyone can use, and anyone can empty and even replace the refills if I am not around.

Diaper Champ works fine. Of course you have to fasten tape on diapers or it will stick going thru the chute. Or you could use the velcro tab diapers. Do not force oversized diapers into the chute or you will tear the foam ring that keeps the smell out. Likewise, dont spray and liquids into the chute or you will harden the foam smell ring. Champ uses kitchen bags and requires no cutting. Don't believe its possible to have a weeks worth of diapers in there...your kid must never get any food. I have twins a go thru 20 diapers a day. Even solo child, the champ will fill up in a few days. The tighter you wrap the diapers better everything works.

We use the Diaper Champ. It started out okay but after 18 months it stinks -- in both senses of the word.

1) Odor control is more important with older babies' diapers, and now the unit's seals have worn out and can no longer contain the smell. Plus there are gaps around the lid hinge area that never even were sealed.

2) The larger toddler diapers don't fill the holding area nicely. They tend to pile up directly under the chute, making the mechanism jam as though the unit were full even though there's still plenty of space around the sides. You have to shake it or kick it periodically to avoid this problem.

That brings up another fundamental design flaw: Even when it actually is full, jamming with a diaper halfway disposed of is a pretty crude way of alerting you to this fact (now you have to fish it out by hand). Plus heavily "loaded" diapers don't go down the chute well. For these reasons I often avoid the chute altogether and just open the actual lid to dispose of a diaper -- like using an old-fashioned diaper pail. So what's the point in having a Diaper Champ?!?

Plus it takes two hands to position a fresh bag and a third hand to hold the lid open while you do this. When no third hand is available I stand on one foot and hold the lid open with my other knee. This isn't for everyone. The mechanism for holding the bag in place is inadequate. The natural thing would be to wrap the top edge of the bag over a lip of some sort for a full 360 degees around the opening. Here you can't because the lid hinge is in the way, so you try to push the bag around as far as you can and hope it stays until you close the lid down on it.

Plus when you pull out a full bag you can tear it on a sharp plastic protrusion if you're not careful. It is nice that it uses conventional kitchen bags though.

Oh yeah, my twins think it's fun to drop their shoes and small toys down the chute and pull the lever. I don't recommend this product.

The Diaper Genie is a true health hazzard. So far my wife has cut her hand open once and I've cut my hand open twice while trying to shove diapers thru the trap door. After bleeding all over my newborn, I've decided to throw my brand new amputation device in the garbage. Platex needs to pull this product off store shelves before someone loses a finger or hand.

Monroe Twp., NJ

We bought a simplehuman trash can, one of the big ones, from BloodBath and Beyond. Foot pedal-operated, uses normal tall kitchen garbage bags. When closed, there is no odor. It has worked well with both disposable and cloth diapers. You don't have to buy expensive refills and it fit's a whole lot of diapers.

I rest the dirty diaper on top of the lid momentarily whilst finishing the change on the squirmy kid without breaking my back, and then take care of the diaper when the kid is safely off the changing table. Every time I would leave a dirty diaper on the table while finishing the job, Spawn would get a foot in it or attempt to do a header off the side. Your kid or your coordination may vary. As a bonus, when you're done with diapers you have a nice, functional, lidded trash can.

I cannot count how many times my hands got cut from the sharp plastic edging on the diaper genie. It definately needs to be redesigned so that the edges are smoother. The item should be OFF the shelf until this hazardous defect is fixed.

The Diaper Champ is useless too... It has a rubber gasket around the top of each rim - but when you rotate the lid, the gasket edge, which is not pushed in securely enough, catches on the edge of the part which doesn't rotate, and gets stuck. Also on the inside, there is not enough leeway to use a cloth laundry bag. I think we threw ours out is was so useless...

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