20 most worthless pieces of junk: #2 -- Wipe warmers

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baby snowI have no idea if Brad Pitt has a wipe warmer in his house to keep his childrens' bums clean and warm, but he does support using baby wipes for underarm hygiene.

While that's a heck of a tip, if Pitt or anyone else has a wipe warmer to keep their baby's backside warm while being wiped clean, then it's a waste of electricity, space, money, time and a bad attempt at cleanliness. In short, it's a useless piece of junk.

If the point of a wipe warmer is to prevent the baby from screaming because a cold wipe is being used and is uncomfortable, consider that one of the most common complaints about the product is that the wipe isn't warm enough and that it turns cold seconds after taking it out.And even if it does work and is warm, it's still junk. I'll get to those reasons in a minute, but first let's get past the warm and fuzzy people who say they want a wipe warmer for their eco-friendly reusable baby wipes. An eco-friendly warmer may sound nice with its bamboo cloth and promise to inhibit the growth of bacteria, but anytime you combine water and heat, you're creating the chance for microbes to grow.

Unfortunately, one of the most common complaints about wipe warmers is that the wipe is not warm enough when is comes out of the warmer, and that in the seconds it takes to pull a wipe and move to wipe baby's bottom, the changer is left with a cold wipe in hand.

Here are some other reasons not to buy one, according to an AssociatedContent.com story:

  • Space. They're bulky and take up too much space on a changing table. Beyond that, it's good to have something portable for when you take the baby out of the house, and plugging a wipe warmer into your car's lighter seems taking it a little too far.
  • Waste. The heating element will dry out a significant number of wipes, so pulling out several wipes to reach a damp one is a waste of wipes. The heating element has also been known to burn wipes yellow or brown. The last thing you want when using a wipe is grabbing one that's dry; dampness helps clean up the mess a lot more.
  • Cost. Warmers run at least $20, and you're also burning money on electricity.
  • Cleanliness. As I said above, a warm, wet and dark place is an invitation for bacterial growth. That should be enough to throw your wipe warmer out the window.
And one last reason to not buy one: Getting your baby used to something that you don't want to or can't repeat when needed is a bad road to go down. If your child expects a warm wipe, and you don't have it with you at the park, that could lead to more crying than simply starting with cold wipes in the middle of the night to begin with.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at www.AaronCrowe.net.

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