Effect of Evaporation on Infant Diaper Weights at Selected Intervals Post-Wetting: Implications for Pediatric Nursing Policy Development

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Amanda Moore, RN1
Joan Burttram Carlisle, DSN, PNP-BC2
Jennifer Thomas, RN1
Alyssa Cooper, RN1
Terri Henderson, RN1
Debbie Mayfield, RN1
Victoria Reid, RN1
Randa Taylor, RN1
Rachel Weigent, RN1
Meagan Broussard, RN1
Tonshel Gary, RN1
Vicki Higgins, RN1
Laduska Van Fleet, RN1
Naomi Fineberg, PhD3
Yanhui Sun, MPH3
1Nursing Services, Children's Health System, Birmingham, AL
2Nursing Education & Research, Children's Health System, Birmingham, AL
3Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Learning Objective 1: ...identify at least 2 results of the research study, "Effect of Evaporation on Infant Diaper Weights at Selected Intervals Post-Wetting."

Learning Objective 2: ...discuss how the research findings are used as a basis for implementing evidence-based nursing policy development.

Purpose: Acute care pediatric nurses questioned the practice of immediately weighing diapers after infant/child voiding and wanted to know if delaying diaper weighing until the end of the shift would alter the weight of the diapers. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of evaporation over time on weight of disposable infant/child diapers.

Methods: Experimental, laboratory model wherein designated amounts of saline was added to dry disposable diapers. Diapers were weighed immediately post-wetting and then at hourly intervals for seven hours. Four sizes of diapers were utilized: preemie, size 1, 3 and 5.  For each size diaper, two volumes of saline were added simulating the upper and lower limits of normal output.

Results: Analysis of data was implemented using repeated measures ANOVA. Changes over time were significantly different for all time points and for volume.  The interaction between time and volume was also significant indicating that the change over time was different for the large and small volumes.  However, the results need to be interpreted with care.  Actual changes in diaper weight were very small and consistent (small standard deviations) between the diapers in each group. The largest change was only a 3% change over 7 hours (3 grams out of 100 ml) which was less than a 5 % change needed for clinical significance.

Conclusion: Small albeit significant changes occurred over time in the weight of the diaper.  These changes were greater for the larger volumes of liquid as compared to the smaller volumes.  These changes were too small to be of clinical significance and it is appropriate to wait and weigh all the diapers at the end of an 8-hour nursing shift. Findings from this study should become the basis of pediatric nursing policy to ensure consistent nursing care that is based on evidence.