Parenting is always an experiment so why not collect the data?
Nappy Science Gang

Meet Nappy Science Gang: Jen, the nappy volunteer’s story

We asked some of the members in our first citizen science project – Nappy Science Gang (NSG) – to tell us about their experience of being involved in the project. Meet Jen:

Name:
Jen

Occupation: tax advisor

Highest science qualification: Chemistry A Level

My NSG journey: I started with being a quiet observer on the edges. I couldn’t get to any live chats, but read them afterwards with interest. I posted a comment or two on Facebook. Then Sophia asked for volunteers to help run an information stall at the East Midlands Baby Show, and I helped out. It made a huge difference to me to see and hear about the experiments first hand, so I invited Sophia to our next nappuccino (cloth nappy information morning) where she spoke about the project and did the flushable liners test. This was a really enjoyable, engaging nappuccino and we had great feedback.

After that, ‘team 90°C’, in the temperature washing experiment needed a last-minute substitute, as someone dropped out, and I volunteered. The kit came with a few instructions for extra scientific experiments and some litmus paper, which was a nice surprise. It was also really interesting to see how damaged some of the fabrics already were when the nappies arrived.

I was also fortunate enough to get to the results event at the Science Museum, which was really interesting. And it meant I could compare the nappies I’d washed with the ones from the other teams, which was also interesting. I also went on the trip to look at nappies down a scanning electron microscope, at Nottingham University, which was my first time in a real science lab!

I think I have always had a fairly good relationship with science. But this has made me think about the science of nappies. I am more likely to do some absorbency tests on the kit nappies, which I have thought about before but never got round to… NSG has made me curious again.

The effect I have seen as a result of NSG’s work is a wider discussion about washing routines based on experience, personal experimenting and results/chats etc from NSG. We have moved away from ‘1/2 dose of non-bio… Because that is the advice’, to a more individual approach, which is getting parents thinking about what works for them and the science behind it – all great stuff! As nappy library volunteers, we have also started to highlight that disposable liners should not be flushed.

Related links

Meet more Nappy Science Gang people

Nappy Science Gang blog

What is Citizen Science?

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