I was invited to the inaugural Huggies Parents Council that was held in Chicago to discuss the controversy over “glass” found in Huggies wipes. There were a dozen fellow parent bloggers/influencers invited to bring concerns, comments, and/or criticism to the council and have a chance to speak directly to the brand. I saw this an awesome opportunity to represent the dad-voice to a major brand and to encourage more involvement of dads in marketing, research, and overall branding. What I didn’t expect was to realize that Huggies saved my marriage.
Before we get to the moment of clarity that made me go home and bombard my wife with huggies (really bad joke), let me give you a recap of what I learned. Before I went, I set up a poll to see how many of you used Huggies, how many heard about the controversy, what you did or would have done after hearing about the controversy, and if you had any specific concerns that you wanted me to bring to the brand.
I found it interesting that the majority of the people taking the survey said that they trusted the brand and either ignored the claim of glass in the wipes or would have researched the claim instead of simply halting use of the wipes immediately. That told me that parents see Huggies as a trusted brand. (Made me feel good about our choice in wipes, little did I know that it actually saved my marriage… more on that, soon.)
During the Parents Council, Huggies brought in brand managers and head innovators in research and development of Huggies products to talk to us about the science behind what goes into their wipes, how they are designed, how they are tested, and how they are improving on the products they already have. The key here was “innovation.” It was impressive how detailed a brand can be on these things and to hear how Huggies goes above and beyond the standard regulations for their products.
So, how fast did Huggies respond?
One of the questions that was asked in the poll was, “How long did it take Huggies to react to the claims?” (Great question!) Here is a quick timeline:
On Thursday (August 20, 2015) a mom uploaded a video to YouTube claiming there was glass in the wipes. On Friday, it had over 7 million views. On Saturday, Huggies picked up the accused wipes and sent them to the independent testing firm, McCrone Associates Inc., and tested the wipes that were returned to Huggies. On Monday (August 24, 2015) Huggies received results from the independent testing and confirmed there was no glass or fiberglass in the wipes and released a statement with a Wipes FAQ page. The following Wednesday, the FDA inspected facilities and processes and found no violations.
A little over a month later, Huggies held a Parents Council to talk about the wipes situation and start a conversation with parents.
So, was there anything on the wipes?Huggies brought in the actual wipes that were recovered from the mom that posted her video (the video has since been removed from YouTube) claiming that there was glass. We all got to hold, feel, and inspect the actual wipes. None of us found glass, but we did see tiny shimmering specs that could have raised an eyebrow to a concerned parent that felt the wipes were causing irritation on their child’s skin. However, these specs were not removable, didn’t feel rough, and overall, the wipes felt like any normal wipes I have ever used.
So, what was the “shimmer?”
Huggies had external testing conducted on the wipes using microscopy, x-ray microanalysis, and infrared microspectroscopy. The results concluded that there was no “glass” in the samples and that the “shimmer” was nothing sharp, but consistent with materials in Huggies wipes.
Did you know that Huggies wipes are made up of 32 miles of microfibers in a single wipe? When some of the microfibers intersect and get wet, light can reflect off the moisture of the wipes and create a “shimmer.”
So, what is used to make the wipes?
Huggies brought in a pediatrician named Dr. William Sears (you may have heard of him, he’s kind of a big deal). Dr. Sears explained the science behind avoiding irritation to sensitive baby skin; use water. Therefore, Huggies wipes are made of 99% water. After that, they are using a formulation of other ingredients that are gentle to sensitive skin like Vitamin E and Aloe, along with surfactants (gently cleans fluids without disrupting skin), a preservative system (prevents bacterial, mold and mildew contamination in damp conditions), a pH adjuster (creates an environment that is bad for bacteria but safe for skin), softening ingredients (keeps wipes soft on the skin), and fragrances (because tests show that we like the nice smells).
Any parent would look at some of those ingredients and think, “why can’t they be made without all that other stuff and is all of that REALLY safe?” Well, the simple answer is… the wipe still has to clean up poop and the wipes need to stay damp and we all know “damp” usually means mold and we don’t like mold. That’s what some of that other stuff does. The rest of it keeps it super soft and avoids irritation of the skin. The second part of the question is very important.
So, how safe are these products?
First of all, it was great to learn that because Huggies sells its products all over the globe, they use the strictest standards they are asked to follow as their baseline. Why? Because the strictest standards for baby products around the world may be more strict than big-business America. As a parent, I love that. Go above and beyond because after all, you are talking about our kids here.
Second, the testing that they do on their products is insane. They go through such intense testing that they actually have wipes tested on people’s eyes. As in, they rub the wipes on their eyeball. People actually do this! But the point is, how often do we use wipes to wipe food off of our children’s faces? Let’s make sure if it gets in their eyes it isn’t going to burn them. So, thanks to all those people that submit to that testing. And good luck!
So, what else did Pat learn about the brand?
Huggies is all about innovation. It was interesting to hear of the trademarks and patents that they have with most of their products. I had no idea that these are some of the things that I have not been able to live without as a parent and that Huggies was the reason.
- Huggies wipes are the only wipes made with Triple Clean Layers. No one else can use that and that’s why their wipes are so soft and efficient. (We actually ripped apart wipes to see how they are made.)
- Huggies Little Snugglers diapers have a GentleAbsorb Liner with hundreds of tiny absorbent pillows to help draw mess away. (Again, we ripped apart diapers, layer by layer.)
- Huggies Little Movers diapers use a DryTouch liner that absorbs liquid on contact.
- The innovation of their brand goes on and on from their fastener technology to the new Diaper Pants that deliver targeted absorbancy upfront for boys and in the center for girls.
Personally, it was reassuring to know that a company is constantly looking for more ways to make baby products better, despite the cost.
So, where does the Huggies brand stand with dads?
Huggies is a brand that was challenged by the dad community to change their advertising to more accurately depict modern, involved dads. Huggies responded quickly and have since been an advocate for dads. Inviting dads to the table is a positive step in the right direction for the Huggies brand, and I hope more brands follow their example.
Companies that exclude dads from their branding and feedback are not doing justice to the millions of involved fathers across the nation. Dads are parents. We are active, we are involved, and we need to be recognized. Someday, all brands will embrace fathers, and everyone involved will benefit. It is obvious that Huggies is now supporting all members of the family, but as we say in the Dad Blogger community, “we still have work to do.”
So, how did Huggies save Pat’s marriage?
Parents change a lot of diapers. Stay-at-home parents change even more. As new parents, The Wife and I often forgot to close the lid to the wipes container while holding down a screaming, kicking, tiny human. Too often, we would go to change a diaper only to realize that the wipes in the container had dried out. Completely. This is not a good thing to realize when you have a poopy diaper open, baby legs up, and nothing but a dry wipe within reach.
As a stay-at-home dad, the frustration builds and I would irrationally blame The Wife for the dried box of useless wipes rather than realize that it was probably more often my own mistake. This situation caused obvious frustration, middle-of-the-night blaming, muffled swearing, and general stink-eye faces between me and The Wife.
Then, one day, it happened. One of us (I’d take the credit, but The Wife might actually read this and call me out on it) changed to a different package of wipes with this plastic stopper thingy that kept a seal on the wipes even if you left the lid open, keeping the wipes under the seal completely unaffected by said open lid. Whoever made this was brilliant! No more stink-eyes and no more unwarranted blame throwing! Peace was restored in our house and there was much rejoicing. Our marriage was saved.
During the Huggies Parents Council, I found out that the “little plastic stopper thingy” was an innovative trademark by Huggies. Only they can produce wipes with their marriage saving, patented, flexible, rubber-like dispenser opening.
And that, dear readers, is how Huggies saved my marriage.
*Disclosure: Just a Dad 247 has been compensated for this event. Just a Dad 247 only works with brands that create products or services that we believe in and use ourselves. The opinions expressed in this blog entry are authentic and our own.