Bamboo Mats and Safe Cribs
We are frequently emailed by parents who have visited orphanages and then come back in alarm by some of the things they have seen. One of the most common complaints that we hear is that the babies are sleeping on bamboo mats with no bedding. We know to many Westerners, this seems so barren, but after being in dozens of orphanages and speaking with aunties in each of them, we have learned that we often form opinions without knowing the full story.
We have picked up countless babies in orphanages with soaking wet cloth diapers (and were then drenched ourselves). We cannot imagine how unpleasant it would be for children to sleep on mattresses that get saturated daily with urine. Remember that most orphanages do NOT use disposable diapers, so the babies frequently soak through. To the aunties, the bamboo mats are the most sanitary type of bedding there is, as they can quickly be wiped up when a baby has an accident, and then the children do not have to sleep with their faces on a urine soaked mattress. Orphanage workers have learned over the years that using the bamboo mats is actually a benefit to the children.
One thing we do worry about with cribs, however, is when orphanages are using old wooden cribs that could have lead based paint, or when they are using cribs that are so shallow that they pose a safety risk to the babies. Over the years we have provided hundreds of safe cribs to orphanages throughout China. Right now we are in the middle of our Coats and Cribs fundraiser. If you would like to help provide a safe new crib for a child in China, please visit this link to learn more. Buying a crib for an orphaned child makes a wonderful gift for someone in your life. We are happy to send a gift card to let the person know how they have helped a child in China. Together we can make sure that orphanages have the safest supplies possible for the children in their care.