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Mothers Who Can't Afford Diapers Forced to Reuse Them

Many low income mothers who can't afford diapers are forced to try reusing them, according to a new study from the Journal of Pediatrics.

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[Image: Typical disposable diaper]

Any new parent will tell you: diapers are expensive, costing as much as $936 a year. But you can’t buy diapers with food stamps, leaving low income mothers struggling to pay for them. The study in the Journal of Pediatrics says one in 12 mothers can’t afford to keep their babies in clean diapers. But Orange County Healthy Start Coalition Executive Director Linda Sutherland says the study really understates the problem.

“In our community, if I had to guess, it would probably be more like one in eight, because we see the need tremendously out there among all of our families we consider at risk,” she says.

Babies going to daycare are required to bring disposable diapers. Sutherland says many low income mothers don’t have washing machines, so cloth diapers are not an option because many laundry mats won’t allow them. The study says mothers try to stretch their diapers by either re-using them or holding off on diaper changes, but that is causing rashes and urinary tract infections.

Sutherland says while some communities have diaper banks, there isn’t one in Orange County.  However there are periodic diaper drives, and many food banks will accept diaper donations.  


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