If you’re a parent, you know how important diapers are when you have a baby. But, one in three American families struggle with a shortage of diapers, says the National Diaper Bank Network. Why is there a diaper shortage?
The current diaper shortage is due to two main reasons—the global supply chain problems affecting many industries and the rising costs because of those supply chain issues.
Diapers costs add up quickly per child.
The price of diapers has risen to the point that many low-income families can’t afford them and government safety-net programs don’t provide funding for them.
According to the National Diaper Bank Network, the poorest 20 percent of American parents of infants and toddlers spent nearly 14 percent of their after-tax income on diapers in 2014. That figure is sure to be higher now with the cost of a package of 100 diapers ranging from $30 to $50. Infants require up to 12 diapers per day, which leads to a hefty diaper bill on a monthly basis for many families.
Florida father resorted to stealing diapers after his credit cards were declined.
A Facebook post by the Winter Haven, Fla. police department recently received national attention and highlighted the need for diapers many parents are struggling with. In the post, the police department called out for information on a man who walked out of Walmart with diapers after his credit cards were declined. The post included surveillance photos of the man with his children in tow.
People responded with outrage at the department for calling the man out and offered to pay for the items for him.
“I’d take the petty theft charge to make sure my kids had diapers. That’s a good father in a hard spot, life can deal bad hands. Have some empathy,” commented Raymond Joseph.
“I really don’t think it was nice or needed to show him all over social media. Aren’t there any missing people or real criminals to find in Winter Haven?” commented Laurie Brown Schreiber.
The police department later said that it wouldn't charge the man and Walmart signed a waiver of prosecution.
Last week was National Diaper Need Awareness Week.
The incident points to the growing diaper need in the U.S. The week of Sept. 27–Oct. 3 was the 10th annual National Diaper Need Awareness Week.
Not getting diapers can also cause parents to lose income when they have to miss work to take care of their children because most child care centers require them to supply a day’s worth of disposable diapers, says National Diaper Bank Network.
Bill in Congress addresses the diaper need.
While lawmakers on Capitol Hill battle over the debt ceiling and infrastructure bill, there's a bill sitting on the shelf that would expand programs to provide access to diapers for low-income families.
The End Diaper Need Act of 2021 was introduced in February by Senator Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat from Illinois. The proposed grant program would provide for four years of additional funding for “diapering needs of certain low-income families and adults through the Social Services Block Grant Program.” It would also allow states to use Medicaid funds and individuals to use health savings account funds for “medically necessary” diapers and supplies.