National Diaper Need Awareness Week Aims to Spread Awareness and Education Around Diaper Need in the U.S., Which Affects 1 in 3 Families
This week kicks off National Diaper Need Awareness Week, which was created in 2012 by the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) and the Kimberly-Clark North America Huggies® Brand, as a way to draw attention to the issue of diaper need in the United States.
Diaper need is the lack of enough diapers to keep a baby or toddler clean, dry, and healthy, and is a recognized public health issue that impacts the physical, mental and economic well-being of U.S. children and families. Diaper need can result from poverty, unexpected life hardships, natural disasters and so much more. Huggies® is the proud founding sponsor of the National Diaper Bank Network and has donated more than 300 million diapers and wipes to the network since 2011.
The National Diaper Bank Network has more than 225 member diaper banks which have reported on average an 86% increase in the number of diapers distributed to families, compared to the previous year, with spikes of up to 800% more in some cities. In 2020, NDBN distributed more than 140 million diapers to families in need, and 2021 shows little signs of decreasing need. No federal support programs for children cover diapers, which can run about $80 a month per child.
In addition to diaper need, 1 in 4 U.S. women struggles to afford period products. To address that need, Kimberly-Clark's U.S. U by Kotex® brand partnered with the National Diaper Bank Network in 2018 to become the founding sponsor of the Alliance for Period Supplies (APS). U by Kotex will donate more than six million period products this year, and has donated more than 40 million period products since 2018.
Both the diaper and period products donation efforts ladder up to Kimberly-Clark’s ambition to advance the well-being of 1 billion people in underserved communities around the globe by 2030.
Prior to the pandemic, a nationwide study conducted by the NDBN and Huggies helped reveal the facts on diaper need in the U.S.:
- One in three U.S. families reported experiencing diaper need.
- Nearly three in five families experiencing diaper need reported missing work or school due to lack of access to clean diapers needed for childcare services.
- Families reporting diaper need encompass a wide array of ages, racial groups and income levels. Of those in diaper need, 96 percent are under 45 years of age with the majority between 25 to 34 years of age.
- Of those in need, two-in-five families said they stretch the use of diapers by keeping a child in the same diaper longer, which can increase a child’s risk for skin irritation and other serious side effects.
“The research shows that a lack of access to clean diapers leads to negative and long-lasting impacts on a child’s physical and mental health,” continues Goldblum. “We want every child to achieve his or her full potential, and having a clean diaper is one of the essential building blocks to making this a reality.”
Baby Booties Diaper Bank in McKinney, Texas has seen a 600% increase in need from the families it serves since the pandemic started. The bank distributes an estimated 20,000+ diapers every other Saturday in less than an hour and serves nearly 500 kids.
“We are seeing some families who would have never asked for help prior to COVID-19, but the pandemic has led to unexpected job layoffs across so many sectors and economic crises that most of these families never could have imagined,” said Helen Hutton, Executive Director of Baby Booties.
Hutton predicts that the need will only increase as winter approaches and heating bills increase. Roughly 65% of the families she serves have working family members, but even with two incomes, many just can’t make ends meet.
“Receiving high-quality products from Huggies and U by Kotex means everything to these families,” said Hutton. “Kimberly-Clark walks the walk. They understand our mission, help us raise awareness and lean in across many aspects of need for women and children. They also help us tell our story, which enables us to make more of an impact across the United States.”
There are several ways to help end diaper need in your community and participate in National Diaper Need Awareness Week:
- Host a physical or virtual diaper drive
- Volunteer at a local diaper bank
- Request proclamations from elected officials
- Engage on social media or share posts from The National Diaper Bank Network by using and/or following the hashtags #EndDiaperNeed and #HelpingHugs
- Make a monetary donation to the National Diaper Bank Network or support a local diaper bank in your community
“Families oftentimes have to choose between buying food or diapers so they may end up leaving diapers on longer than they should, which can pose health risks for babies,” said Robert Raines, Vice President of Huggies North America. “Huggies is dedicated to helping parents navigate the unknowns of babyhood, and for the last 10 years, together with the National Diaper Bank Network, we’ve been able to help many families who struggle with diaper need. However, the need is greater than ever, and we must continue to educate and advocate for change.”
To learn more about the National Diaper Bank Network or the Alliance for Period Supplies, please visit NationalDiaperBankNetwork.org or AllianceForPeriodSupplies.org. To learn more about Kimberly-Clark and its goal to advance the well-being of one billion people in underserved communities around the globe by 2030, please visit Kimberly-Clark.com.