Diaper Facts

What is Diaper Need?

Diaper need is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep an infant or child clean, dry, and healthy.

*Need is more than a footnote.

Here are the facts:

  • 1 in 3 American families reports experiencing diaper need.
  • 5.2 million children in the U.S. aged three or younger live in poor or low-income families.
  • Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about 8.
  • Disposable diapers can cost $70 to $80 per month per baby.
  • No state or federal child safety-net program allocates dollars specifically for the purchase of diapers.
  • Without transportation, buying diapers at a convenience store rather than a large “big box” store can significantly increase the monthly cost of diapers.
  • Most childcare centers, even free and subsidized facilities require parents to provide a day’s supply of disposable diapers.

A shortage of diapers can lead to serious consequences:

  • Children wearing diapers for too long, or parents trying to clean and reuse disposable diapers puts children at risk for staph and other infections.
  • If a family doesn’t have clean diapers to provide for their children, a child could spend even days at a time in the same dirty diaper
  • A crying baby is more likely to be a victim of child abuse
  • A wet baby sleeps poorly and cries at night, and so a tired parent or older sibling has further difficulties at work and at  school