A mother with a disabled son has spoken of her pride after Tesco became the first UK supermarket to begin selling nappies for older children in response to her campaign.
Laura Rutherford‘s six-year-old son Brody – who has a rare genetic condition, autism and epilepsy – is not toilet trained and outgrew regular infant nappies when he was four.
The family, from Bonnybridge, Falkirk, had to use size six nappies – suitable for 15-16-month-old infants – until Laura was forced to buy expensive specialist nappies online.
Taking the situation into her own hands, Laura started up a Change.org petition in 2016, which garnered over 18,500 signatures.
Laura, 34, said: “It became apparent Brody needed bigger nappies when he was around the age of four.
“I think when he reached this age a lot of things became suddenly apparent.
“You don’t tend to think of your child outgrowing nappies or baby changing tables but when they’ve got a disability it suddenly creeps up on you and becomes a big issue.”
“In Forth Valley, children can be referred to the continence service for products when they turn five.
“Because I was unable to get products from the service before then, I squeezed him into size six nappies for as long as possible, before buying specialist products online, which were expensive.”
Having waited eight months before receiving any nappies and with the costs of buying specialist ones online mounting, the family finally got granted nappies from the local continence service.
The new Tesco Junior Nappies have been created in conjunction with Laura and include a wetness indicator and double strength fixing tapes to help secure on a larger child.
Laura, a charity worker, said: “I am really pleased that Tesco created their Junior Nappies.
“It’s something that I am proud to have played a part in from start to finish and I’m grateful that they kept me involved.
“The difference the nappies at Tesco will make for my family is knowing that there is somewhere we can go if we run out or need to top up.
“If these nappies had existed when Brody was four it would have been a complete game changer for us.
“I think it really will be for lots of families walking similar paths and that is something I am really happy about.”
Laura has commended the affordability of the new Tesco nappies which she believes “many people need”.
She said: “Tesco have priced the nappies at £4.50 for 20, which is fantastic.
“Nappies online tend to be around £12 a pack.
“I think that it’s great that they listened, saw the gap in the market and the opportunity to provide a product that so many people need.
“The best thing for me is that there is no disability price tag.”
With Tesco having now led the way, Laura is hopeful more supermarkets will seize the initiative and begin selling larger-sized nappies for families who desperately need them.
It would also mean families wouldn’t need to depend as heavily on continence services, which Laura claims is a “postcode lottery”.
She said: “I think that other supermarkets are missing a trick not providing bigger nappies – they are something that thousands of families need.
“The continence service is such a postcode lottery – referral age, waiting time and the number of nappies families receive varies depending on where you live.
“So there will always be people who aren’t yet eligible or who need to buy more, so this is a win-win.
“It’s providing a much needed product that will sell and more companies need to recognise the power of the purple pound.
“There is money to be made and services to be provided, which can be done without charging big money and taking advantage of people.”
Discussing the support she has received throughout her two year online campaign, Laura described the response as “fantastic”.
She said: “I’ve heard from families all over the UK who are as excited as me about Tesco Junior Nappies.
“It’s a simple thing, which will make a big difference.”
She added: “The support I have received from other parents and carers has been fantastic.
“There were some people who doubted that a big supermarket like Tesco would listen.
“The process hasn’t been fast but they’ve made a great quality product at a good price and that’s fantastic.”