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'Smart Diapers' Solve Parents’ Guesswork

Baby boy crawling up stairs
Photograph by Getty Images/Brand X

Diapers do one thing beautifully: soak up urine. What more do you want than that?

Apparently, a lot, according to parents Jennie Rubinshteyn and Yaroslav Faybishenk, who wondered what their 1-year-old was crying about when seated in the backseat of their car.

"I was being paranoid. I couldn't stop asking myself and my husband, 'What is in her diaper? What's in her diaper?" Rubinshteyn, 35, told ABC News. Faybishenko responded, "Data is her diaper. Urine is full of so much health information."

That was the start of their family business: Smart Diapers. No, it’s not like Huggies smart diapers, which tweet when it’s time for a change. Instead, this couple invented a disposable diaper that analyzes a child’s urine, and it works a lot like those sticks you pee on at the doctor’s office. For instance, through chemicals, the diaper can track health problems as they unfold, from urinary tract infections to kidney infections and more.

That comes at a price: The diapers will cost 30 to 40 percent more than regular diapers. At this point, they’re still in the testing phase and not for sale. But on the bright side, you don’t have to use them more than once a day, if that. In fact, Ari Brown, a pediatrician and author of Expecting 411 warns, "I am not sure you need this for the average kid. I'm not confident this a useful screen for a bladder infection because it's not a clean specimen. Also, for these highly anxious parents, I am not sure it will be reassuring. It might be alarming, in fact."

But Faybishenko says the whole point of their plan is to not to alarm parents, but give them peace of mind. "What we want to build is protection that's unobtrusive and integrates with a parent's work flow," said Faybishenko. "It speaks up when there is a reason to be concerned. It is something that stays silent most of the time, but speaks up when you need to take your child to a doctor."

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