Most people do not know that one out of every three families in the United States struggle to buy enough diapers for their children. On average, infants and toddlers require 8-12 diapers a day. With caregivers changing 3,000-5,000 diapers before potty training begins, the cost really adds up. Parents who can't afford enough diapers may re-diaper less frequently, leaving their baby in a soiled diaper and exposing the infant to health risks. At times, parents may be left with no option but to dry soiled diapers and reuse them.
An estimated 5.3 million U.S. children (or about half the U.S. population ages 0-3 years) are affected by diaper need. Lack of diapers leads to health issues, such as rash, infections, and extra visits to the pediatrician's office. As a nurse I regularly saw children admitted to the hospital for serious infections caused by diaper rash as a result of diaper need. I also saw worn out diapers taped and re-taped as families struggled to afford this basic necessity for their children.
Every year, more babies are born in September than any other month. September also coincides with Diaper Need Awareness Week (September 28-October 4) which focuses our attention on the fact that many families can't afford to buy all the diapers they need. To do our part, Healthy Mom&Baby magazine, the nurses of the AWHONN, Kimberly-Clark, and the National Diaper Bank Network are together campaigning to collect 100,000 diapers through the Wipe Out Diaper Need campaign.
Visit www.DiaperDrive.org to find a diaper bank in your community where you can donate diapers. Once you've made your donation, don't forget to log the number of diapers donated and the location where the donation was made -- we want to recognize your generosity!
Many diaper banks collect both disposable and cloth diapers. It's important to note, however, that low-income families face challenges in using cloth diapers since most childcare facilities and laundromats won't accept cloth diapers, and many families affected by diaper need don't have washers or dryers at home.
Nurses across the country have long been collecting diapers for their smallest, most vulnerable patients. Join us to help Wipe Out Diaper Need by learning more at www.DiaperDrive.org.