Diaper Shortage Puts 1 Out of 3 US Families in the Dumps

by Matthew Memrick
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Thanks to a shortage, getting diapers for one out of three U.S. families has become more complex.

Disposable diapers are the latest casualty of shortages, thanks to pandemic conditions and supply chain difficulties. You knew it was coming after beer and toilet paper, right?

In a National Diaper Bank Network study, the shortage affects 33 percent of American households with children.

“Families are really needing help right now,” Nicole Burman, parent liaison with Kent County (Mich.) Great Start Collaborative told Fox 17. “We know that government safety nets like WIC and food stamps don’t cover the cost of diapers.” 

According to Burman, 100 diapers typically cost around $30 to $50, but that cost has risen significantly due to a supply chain shortage.

Burman estimates that one child can now up to $70 or $80 per month ($840 to $960 for a year) and low-income families need all the help they can get.

The woman said some families are leaving their babies in the same diaper all day, which can lead to health and developmental issues down the road for the child.

Many non-profits are feeling the pinch of the costs and families asking for help.

Burman is pleading for businesses, organizations, faith groups and other agencies to start diaper drives. Her organization collected and gave out more than a million diaper packs. Burman’s new goal is to hit two million donations by the end of October.

These charity organizations are taking diaper and money donations through the pandemic

Cloth Diapering An Option?

The website Money Crashers weighed in on the cost of disposable versus cloth in a 2016 report.

Cloth diapering comes down to two kinds, pre-fold and modern diapers. A pre-fold diaper can cost around $2.50 per diaper with a lifetime cost of approximately $255. Modern diapers are higher, going from $15 to $24 per diaper.

According to the website, the lifetime cost of birth to potty training can be anywhere from $600 to $1,870. And that’s without a diapering service that typically runs more than $3,000. Check around if that’s what you want to do. Chicago-based Green Diaper Babies charges $56 a week for all-in-ones, and only $24 a week for prefolds.

With disposable diapering before the pandemic, the Natural Baby Life website estimated $42 to $108 per month on disposables with $10 to $25 per week. Keep in mind that newborns average about 8 to 12 diapers a day for another average of 210 diapers for three weeks. 

In addition to the diapers, you’ll need your clothes washer and dryer, a pail, a sprayer (for toilet hookup), and wet wipes (or cloth wipes). For outside-the-house travel, you’ll need a wet bag to contain any cloth diapers.

On a personal note, this writer’s wife talked him into cloth diapering, and he finds himself rinsing and washing diapers at least two times a week.

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