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30% of Mothers have reported diaper need
Diaper need is defined by the inability for caregivers to provide clean diapers to an infant or child and has grave implications, including: poor child health, severe diaper rash and blistering, poor child mood, poor maternal mental health, and a resulting barrier to maternal-child bonding. It occurs when parents have to cut back on essentials like food, utilities or child care in order to afford enough diapers, 99% of mothers asked agree that clean diapers are a basic necessity.
Diaper need is a serious issue in Canada, as it costs over $3,000 to diaper a single child in disposable diapers in North America. In a study done by Huggies® , 93% of mothers said that keeping their children in a clean diaper is one of the most important things you can do for them as their mother.
Families experiencing poverty in the form of diaper need provide less frequent diaper changes for their child in an attempt to maximum the supply of diapers they have. This increases the child's risk of dermatitis and UITs (urinary tract infections) and can create higher parental stress levels and depressive symptoms. Children whose parents manifest higher levels of stress or depression are at a greater risk of social, emotional or behavioral problems.
In studies done by the academy of Pediatrics and Huggies® all mothers in Canada and the USA connected clean diapers with showing their child how much they were loved and agree that diapers are a basic need for children. While numerous Canadian health and social services, food and clothing banks are dedicated to helping families suffering financial hardship, little attention is paid to ensuring that families have enough diapers for their children. Talking to local food banks we discovered that they only have the ability to provide disposable diapers on an emergency basis and that consists of approximately 6 disposable diapers per month. A child will go through 6 - 10 disposable diapers per day.
To help reduce the economic pressures of raising children by providing cloth diaper kits to families in need.
Diapers are viewed as a basic necessity for children, much like food and shelter. The experience of diapering is a conduit for connection and love, as well as a source of confidence and pride for mothers.
The idea of not having enough diapers for their child’s daily needs would be very distressing to mothers, and for many it creates a level of stress when their supply is running short. Yet, many mothers have needed to choose between buying diapers and other necessities, including choosing between basic essentials like food, utilities or child care.
A number of mothers in the U.S. and Canada have had to cutback on basic essentials, like food, utilities or child care in order to afford enough diapers for their children. For many of these mothers struggling with diaper need buying diapers creates financial difficulties and in some cases these mothers have run out of money for diapers. These mothers who are struggling to provide diapers are also more likely to be living paycheck to paycheck and struggling financially to meet everyday needs.
More importantly, the struggle with diaper need, cutting back on basic essentials, like food, utilities or child care in order to afford enough diapers, is one that affects a broad spectrum of mothers, including a sizable portion of those above poverty who are living in financial hardship in the U.S. and Canada.
When mothers run short of diapers, children may spend extended periods of time in dirty diapers or in more extreme cases mothers may need to clean, dry and re-use disposable diapers. While children in general who cannot be promptly changed out of a dirty diaper may face emotional and physical consequences, such as showing signs of irritation and discomfort, crying or suffering more from diaper rash, this experience is more prevalent among children living in diaper need.
While mothers of young children feel like good mothers no matter their financial standing, when they cannot provide a basic need like diapers, their well-being suffers. Mothers tend to feel guilty and stressed when they cannot change their child out of a dirty diaper.
Many mothers have not thought about the problem of diaper need, yet some know mothers who cannot afford enough diapers for their child’s daily needs. Mothers are currently helping others in a more grassroots way by giving away their leftover diapers. However, in hearing that some mothers are compromising on necessities and only have a few diapers for a given day, most mothers are interested in helping in a more structured way through purchases or formal donations.
The information sited on this page comes from the following sources:
- Huggies® Every Little Bottom Counts Study, 2010
- Diaper Need and Its Impact on Child Health - Pediatrics, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics
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St. Catharines, ON, Canada
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