What would you do if you couldn’t afford enough diapers for your baby? One in three families in the United States is affected by diaper need, or not having enough diapers to keep their babies clean, dry and healthy. This growing problem puts more than 5.3 million children living in low-income families at risk for serious rash or infection when families dry and reuse diapers.
There is no federal safety net like WIC or SNAP for diapers. Families must rely on the generosity of non-profit diaper banks, among others. Yet there’s hope: For as long as nurses have been caring for babies they have been collecting and giving diapers to families in need.
Specifically, through the Healthy Mom&Baby Diaper Drive, the nurses of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) have pledged to collect 250,000 diapers this year to benefit more than 320 diaper banks in communities throughout the United States. This is the second year of the nurse-led nationwide diaper drive.
Nurses are working in partnership with the Huggies Brand and the non-profit National Diaper Bank Network to close the diaper gap so that families don’t have to choose between food, work, childcare and diapering their infants. The Healthy Mom&Baby Diaper Drive counts the diapers collected and donated by nurses in communities throughout the U.S. during educational and community events and baby showers at their hospitals, clinics and universities. Additionally, these nurses are unsung heroes to babies and their families struggling in poverty as they collect diapers through various AWHONN meetings and activities, including Huggies-sponsored “Fill-a-Truck” events, for example:
Huggies, the Miami Dolphins, and local nurses will kick off Diaper Need Awareness Week on September 25 with a “Fill-a-Truck” drive at the Dolphins’ first home game in the new Hard Rock Stadium to benefit the Happy Baby Diaper Pantry of Southeast Florida, a NDBN program.
Huggies and nurses at Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital in Los Angeles are hosting a “Fill-a-Truck” drive October 14th supported by local DJs and with memorabilia giveaways from the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Kings, and others to benefit NDBM-member Baby2Baby and the Orange County Food Bank. Additional activities include:
In Baton Rouge, a virtual drive raised more than 10,000 diapers in one weekend for families affected by the floods as nurse contributions were combined with those of individuals via the drive’s Amazon Wish List for the Junior League Baton Rouge Diaper Cooperative, an NDBM program.
In Greater Atlanta, students at Kennesaw State University WellStar School of Nursing are joining forces with Cobb County to raise more than 100,000 diapers for local banks.
“Nurses are at the frontlines of caring for infants affected by health issues that result from not having enough clean, dry diapers,” said AWHONN CEO Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN. “We’re proud that AWHONN nurses, along with Huggies and the National Diaper Bank Network, are making strides to close the diaper gap, improving the lives of families and their babies.”
Individuals and families are asked to make a difference for families in their communities by joining with nurses and donating diapers at a diaper bank near them or donating online at www.DiaperDrive.org. A $10 donation will diaper a baby for one week, or $20 for two weeks, through the National Diaper Bank Network. Every $1 donated buys six diapers at wholesale to support these families.
“Huggies is committed to working with nurses to achieve our shared mission: helping babies thrive,” said Aric Melzl, director, Huggies brand, Kimberly-Clark. “As the founding sponsor of the National Diaper Bank Network and through our partnership with AWHONN, we’re proud to continue our support of the Heathy Mom&Baby Diaper Drive to ensure all babies and families get the diapers they need.”
The Obama administration has made eradicating diaper need a 2016 White House initiative as the issue particularly affects low-income families. Infants and toddlers need 8-12 diapers a day, at a cost of $70-80 per month, per child. Research shows that for the lowest-income families, this expense consumes up to 14 percent of their total income. Without a sufficient supply of disposable diapers, children can’t attend childcare or preschool, and a parent may not be able to return to work.
“Diaper need is a growing problem that affects too many families throughout the country,” said Joanne Goldblum, CEO of the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN). “Our network of more than 320 local diaper bank programs helps ensure parents have a sufficient supply of diapers and aren’t faced with the tough choice between food, work and keeping their children healthy.”