The Facts and Impacts of Diaper Need
- No "safety net" programs (WIC, Food Stamps, Medicare) pay for or provide diapers.
- Daycare centers require parents to leave disposable diapers with their child; parents who can't afford diapers can't go to work or school and the vicious cycle of poverty continues.
- The very poor have limited access to grocery stores or "big box" discount stores. They can often only get to corner and convenience stores within walking distance where small packs of diapers are extremely overpriced.
- A healthy change of diapers, especially at extreme retail prices, can cost $100 or more per month.
- Nonprofits working with individuals and families in crisis list diapers as an ongoing and TOP need.
- Cash assistance is very limited and hard to qualify for in Michigan - a family must be 44% or more below the poverty line to receive any cash assistance, and then a family of 3 only receives $492/mo.
- The number of Michiganders living on nothing but Food Stamps (which do not pay for diapers or ANY hygiene/paper products) increased by 60% from 2007 to 2009.
- Myths and stereotypes exist about social services and those on assistance, read the Michigan Department of Human Services "Welfare Myth-Busting 101" here.
- A healthy change of diapers for the average infant is up to 12 per day, a toddler up to 8 per day. But in low-income households, a baby may be in a single diaper all day or longer, risking health problems ranging from severe diaper rash to staph infection.
- Uncomfortable babies cry and don't sleep well at night -- this leads to poorly-rested and higher-stressed parents and siblings and can contribute to illnesses, absences and reduced performance levels at work and school.
- A baby crying non-stop from being in a soiled diaper for a prolonged period of time or suffering from a severe diaper rash is more susceptible to abuse, especially in an already-stressed household.
- In low-income families without insurance, health issues like severe diaper rashes often go untreated until they require a trip to the ER, creating added pressure on community hospitals that provide free emergency care.
- 15-20% of all adults over age 65 suffer some degree of incontinence.
- Elder abuse is more likely in a multi-generational household facing the added stress of incontinence.
- Healthy but incontinent seniors often become homebound if they can't afford supplies. This can lead to isolation, depression and increased need for assistance programs like Meals on Wheels.
- Incontinence is among the most common reasons for seniors to be put in nursing homes.
People with Disabilities:
- Many babies with disabilities never outgrow the need for diapers, even through adulthood.
- Adding adult-size diaper costs to uncovered medical expenses can devastate families earning an otherwise adequate income. (read more here)
- Many children and adults with disabilities need diapers or incontinence supplies in order to go to school, work or participate in job training.
making a difference with diapers
The "safety net" FORGOT diapers. We remembered.
# of diapers, pull-ups and incontinence supplies distributed
to partners since
April 27, 2009: