Why Diaper Banks Are So Important
We are proud to donate 3% of company profits to diaper banks. Diapers are expensive but extremely important for baby health, and diaper banks provide a critical supply for more families than you may think. According to The National Diaper Bank Network, 1 in 3 American families reports experiencing diaper need.
When you have a baby, you’re forced to plan for new expenses, like formula, childcare, baby gear, and diapers. Luckily, for many American families, it’s not so difficult to shuffle around the budget to make ends meet. But with 5 million children in the United States living in poor or low-income families, some parents don’t have the means to meet their babies’ basic needs — including providing clean diapers.
Some family expenses are negligible or short-term. But diaper expenses are a long-term, essential need for every baby. The average child toilet trains around age two or three, which means parents need to provide diapers for three (or more) years (and that’s not including Pull-Ups). While diapers are an essential part of child health, they’re also not cheap.
Disposable diapers can cost up to $80 per month, per baby. Unfortunately, this cost often rises for families in lower income classes. Many poor parents don’t live near big-box stores where diapers are cheaper, or they don’t have transportation to get to one — so they end up paying a higher price at local convenience stores.
Diaper need isn’t just inconvenient; it’s a matter of health: A lack of clean diapers can directly impact a child’s well-being. Two in five families say that when they’re short on diapers, they stretch their diaper use longer to avoid buying new ones. Babies left in soiled diapers for too long are at a higher risk for frequent or severe cases of diaper rash and urinary tract infections. Other parents have reported feeding their babies less milk so they wouldn’t soil diapers, which can lead to child hunger and malnourishment.
Diaper need also affects the entire family. Along with the stress of being unable to afford diapers, diaper need itself can harm a family’s financial well-being. Because many childcare centers—even free and subsidized ones—require parents to provide disposable diapers for their babies, many parents are forced to miss work if they can’t. Recent stats show almost three in five parents experiencing diaper need missed either work or school in the last month because they didn’t have enough diapers when dropping their children off at childcare.
Diaper need is devastating for many American families, but if we all do our part, it won’t take much to remedy the problem. With the average household falling 19 diapers short each month, families with diaper need report that just 50 free diapers each month would reduce their need significantly. There’s no state or federal program that allocates funds specifically for diaper purchases, but there are a number of diaper banks and private programs to help families in need.
The National Diaper Bank Network, founded by Huggies, advocates for families in need by spearheading a number of community diaper banks. Local, grassroots efforts, like Help A Mother Out, also work with communities to provide diapers to families.
Parenting is already hard enough when you have the resources to take care of your baby and yourself. Not having clean diapers is a stressor and health risk no parent needs — and we’re committed to cultivating awareness about diaper need and doing our part to contribute until every family has what they need for health and well-being.