Many of us take access to diapers for infants for granted. It’s a given: you have a baby, you’ll need diapers.
What we don’t always recognize is for those living in poverty and struggling to make ends meet, diapers are certainly still a need, but not a given. Diapers are not something a family will just have.
In Brown County, 40% of families struggle to afford the basics of housing, food, healthcare, childcare, and transportation, according to United Way’s ALICE study. This equates to more than 4,000 children aged 3 and under whose caregivers struggle to provide enough diapers to keep them clean and dry.
Government programs do not cover the cost of diapers, and so many parents resort to re-using old diapers or prolonged use dirty diapers.
But these strategies for conserving resources pack a lot of negative punch, according to an article from the Green Bay Press Gazette:
- a baby who spends an entire day in a single diaper has an increased risk of health problems including diaper rash and hepatitis;
- babies in this scenario may cry nonstop from the discomfort, and that creates a scenario where the infant is more likely to be a victim of abuse;
- diaper need is the most predictive of postpartum depressive symptoms beyond food and housing insecurity;
- Low-income parents cannot utilize daycare if they cannot afford to leave diapers with the childcare center.
Meeting diaper need is essential for clean, healthy and prosperous lives for parents and infants alike, and creates a sense of dignity for those we serve. When we alleviate the ongoing financial burden of diaper costs, we empower recipients to pursue a higher quality of life.
As we enter the National Diaper Bank Network’s Diaper Need Awareness Week (September 24-30, 2018), it’s important to recognize that there are so many local families in need. Jake’s Diapers is a member of the National Diaper Bank Network and operates the Eastern Wisconsin Diaper Bank Initiative and Eastern Wisconsin Alliance for Period Supplies Initiative. We also coordinate with other diaper banks across eastern Wisconsin, including in Brown County.
Want to help? Here are a few ways that you can take action!