Pampers' much-hyped diaper redesign called Dry Max has parents from coast to coast furious as complaints continue to roll in about the diapers causing what is described as a chemical burn or severe rash on the bottoms of infants and toddlers.
By the third diaper change after buying the new Pampers, Joanna Ravlin Dye said her 2-year-old was suffering.
"I found my daughter had a horrible, red, raised diaper rash and was obviously in pain and distress," the Minnesota mother told Consumer Ally. "The rash went on to be oozing, bleeding open sores."
So, like other parents who were at loss for what might have caused the problem, she found post after post describing the same situation with the diaper as the suspected culprit. Many describe the same futile exercise of treating the redness as a diaper rash and finding that none of the typical remedies work. And then, within a day of switching from the new Pampers, parent after parent claims the problem goes away.
"When I found out that this horrible rash is happening to other babies too, I was furious," Ravlin Dye said. "It's not just that my child is extra sensitive; something is wrong with these diapers."
The Dry Max diapers -- which claim to be thinner and "the brand's driest diaper ever" -- have only been on the market for a month or two. Parenting magazine gave the diapers a rousing endorsement after a "partnership" with Pampers that allowed testers to try them out.
"We were very pleased with the response that the Pampers Cruisers with Dry Max received from Parenting's Mom Testers," Susan Kane, editor-in-chief of Parenting magazine, said in a statement released by Procter & Gamble earlier this month. "The product met all of our selection criteria, and also passed the most important test -- the overwhelming majority of Mom Testers said they would recommend the diaper to other moms."
Don't tell that to the 1,500 moms who have joined a Facebook page urging Procter & Gamble to ditch Dry Max and go back to its old and trusted version.
But the company is holding its ground, explaining that change can be unsettling and that its diapers have been tested and are safe.
"Whenever we make an improvement to our diaper – whether it was the introduction of adhesive tape followed by stretch many years ago up to the new Dry Max technology today – our overriding concern is that the product is safe," company spokesman Bryan MccLeary said in an e-mail. "We have an entire division that is devoted to product safety, and we conducted extensive safety assessments including clinical tests before we introduced our new diaper."
He added: "Pampers with Dry Max is the most mom- and baby-tested diapers in our history. More than 20,000 babies from around the world involving more than 300,000 diaper changes were part of the development of Dry Max. This is one of Pampers' most thoroughly researched and tested new products ever."
The company also has an FAQ online addressing, among other things, the buzz about the rashes.
But parents involved in mounting to the challenge don't accept Procter & Gamble's response. They said that their concerns have been largely dismissed. The Pampers Facebook fan page also is littered with comments from these unhappy and often angry parents.
McCleary said the company wants to hear from its unhappy customers.
"We are always concerned to hear from any parent who has a bad experience with our diapers and take reports of rash or skin health concerns seriously," he said. "Babies' well-being has always been and continues to be our top priority. We encourage anyone who has experienced an issue to contact us via telephone so we can follow up and potentially get the product sent to us."
None of this has been of much consolation to parents dealing with infants and toddlers screaming in pain who have decided the only cause can be the new version of Pampers.
"By yesterday, the pustules were more like boils...He tripped and hit one of the boils on a toy and it popped open and blood and pus ran down his leg," Laura Samet of Brooklyn told Consumer Ally about her 2-1/2-year-old. "I thought 'This is no diaper rash.' "
She added: "My son is not normally prone to diaper rashes so his reaction seems pretty extreme. He can't sit down. I can't pick him up by supporting his bottom. I have to support his upper legs instead because it is to painful."
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