What is Diaper Need?

Diaper need is the lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to remain clean, dry and healthy.

Fast Facts

  • According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 5.3 million children in the United States aged three or younger live in poor or low-income families.
  • In Michigan, 29% of families with children aged three or younger earn less than the federal poverty level of $20,090 for a family of three, or $24,250 for a family of four.
  • Research shows that one in three families report experiencing diaper need.
  • Disposable diapers cost $70 to $80 per month per baby.
  • Diapers cannot be purchased with SNAP or WIC benefits.
  • 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.
  • Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, toddlers about 8.

The negative consequences of diaper need

  • Babies who remain too long in a soiled diaper are exposed to potential health risks.
  • Diaper need correlates with increases in maternal stress.
  • Most child care centers, even free and subsidized facilities, require parents to provide at least a day’s supply of disposable diapers.
  • Many parents cannot go to work or school if they cannot leave their babies at child care. In Michigan, 65% of mothers in the workforce have infants.

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