According to a study in the journal Pediatrics published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, many American families struggle with the cost of diapers. In fact, the average household spends approximately $1000/year on this essential for baby – a significant expense for those families on public assistance or surviving on a low income.
Because one out of three mothers in the study needed help buying diapers, this simple expense created reported stress in this population. Eight percent of moms changed diapers less frequently to economize, and thus, put their babies at greater risk for diaper rashes and local infection.
Currently, WIC and other public assistance programs do not fund the purchase of diapers, so the National Diaper Bank Network, a non-profit organization, has worked to set up 100 diaper banks in the US so far. If you visit www.diaperbanknetwork.org/ you can see if there is a diaper bank near you. There is also information on the website if you are interested in starting a diaper bank in your community, or just want to offer support.
Keep in mind, if there isn’t a diaper bank near you, you can network with friends, your place of worship, service organizations, or your co-workers and you can make a difference for a little one in need. You can dial 2-1-1, a hotline available in most areas of the US, for guidance and how to help.
If you are lucky enough to help, please consider doing so. If you need help, it’s out there. Just get on the web and see what this wonderful network can do to help keep your baby’s bottom dry, clean and happy!
-JJ Levenstein MD FAAP