In the article, “The Diaper Divide” by Cecelia Muñoz, there is a serious discussion about the cost of diapers creating an interesting dilemma for parents. While many parents are enjoying the conveniences of having diapers delivered directly to their doorsteps, many more parents are unable to afford this basic necessity for young children. In fact, Muñoz notes that “Nearly 1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their babies. In some cases, moms and dads stretch the time between diaper changes to make their limited resources last.”
Why Diapers Matter
One major problem coming out of this stretching of resources is a big hit to child health. When children are not changed when they need to be, they can contract urinary tract infections and staph infections. This means that on top of families having a rough time affording the diapers their children so desperately need, parents are also faced with large hospitalization and other medical bills for their children.
Muñoz also notes that:
“These choices become even more pressing because the lowest-income quintile of families with infants pay 14 percent of their income for diapers alone – an average of $936 for diapers per child each year, while many higher income families pay less than half that amount. These struggling families may not have access to transportation to the big box store, the credit or capital to buy in bulk at cheaper prices, or the access to internet or ability to receive packages required for online subscription services.”
While there is help out there for families needing aid with their food costs or with their heating bills, there is currently no federal aid allocated to offsetting the cost of diapers. Sure, one might argue that cloth diapers are an option – but for cloth diapers to be a feasible option to individuals in this predicament, they must have reliable access to laundering facilities – either in their own homes or in close proximity to their homes. For many, cloth diapering is not an option.
What You Can Do to Help
There are numerous ways you can get involved to help improve access to diapers. Here are a few of the ways you can get involved now.
- #DiaperGap Use this hashtag on Twitter to find other people who are working to reduce the gap between those able to afford diapers and those who are not able to afford diapers. When you share this article, please use the hashtag.
- Work with local diaper banks to stock the diaper bank and ensure people have access to the resources of the diaper bank. Look on The National Diaper Bank Network to find your local diaper bank. If you don’t find one listed, inquire as to how you can help advocate for starting one.
- Learn more about the Community Diaper Program here. This is a partnership between Jet.com and Cuties Diapers to get more affordable diapers on the bums of the little ones whose families need help the most. You can sign up here to become a diaper distributor.
- Support the White House’s continued efforts to ensure access to the necessities impoverished families need the most. Here is an update on the Diaper Divide article.
- When considering donations to shelters, remember that families experiencing homelessness and women escaping violent situations will have young children with them. Donating diapers helps these shelters to provide services to those who need them.