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  • 5.3 million children in the U.S. aged three or younger live in poor or low-income families.

  • 1 in 3 American families reports experiencing diaper need.

  • Butte County's child poverty rate is 25.2%, which is higher than the California (23.3%) and U.S. (22%) child poverty rates.

  • Over 25 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of incontinence.

  • Adult diapers cost about $40 for 50 diapers. 

  • Retired adults living on a fixed Social Security income (without retirement savings) receive an average of about $1,230 per month. This means they could spend about 3% of their monthly income on just 50 diapers, which is not enough to make it through the month.

  • Diapers cannot be obtained with SNAP or WIC assistance.

  • Infants use an average of 240 diapers per month.

  • Disposable diapers cost up to $100 per month per child.

  • No state or federal program allocates money 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.

Image by Dylan Gillis
Baby Holding Parent


  • Babies who remain too long in a soiled diaper are exposed to potential health risks.

  • Most childcare centers, even free and subsidized facilities, require parents to provide a supply of disposable diapers.

  • Cloth diapers are not accepted at many child care centers.

  • Many parents cannot go to work or school if they can’t leave their babies at child care.


Diaper Need and its Impact on Child Health (2013) 
A recent study at Yale University (the first of its kind) provides examples of some ways mothers tried to make diapers last, such as drying and reusing soiled diapers and dumping out solids. Mothers in this study also stated that they left their children in dirty diapers, despite their crying from discomfort, because changing them meant they wouldn’t have enough diapers. Additionally, this study revealed that lack of access to necessary diapers, while seemingly a simple thing, had complex effects such as:

  • Causing preventable health risks to children such as rashes, painful chafing, and urinary tract infections

  • Being a leading cause of mental health problems in mothers such as stress, anxiety, and depression

  • Restricting access to childcare because parents are unable to provide the necessary amount of diapers to daycare providers

Happy Baby
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