Why Are Diapers So Important?

Diapers are critical to a baby's health and happiness.

Yet most federal assistance programs do not consider diapers a necessity and do not cover their expense.


Percent of families who struggle to afford diapers.

Number of dollars it costs to provide diapers each month.


Percent of familes who cut food or childcare to provide diapers.

Number of diapers a baby needs per day.

Everyone knows how critical diapers are to the well-being of a baby. Babies generally need to have their diapers changed 10-12 times per day and this drops to only 8-10 times per day for toddlers. Even with consistent diaper changes, many children are susceptible to diaper rash. Without consistent diaper changes, babies run the risk of infections, diaper rash and other significant health problems; problems that require medical attention and can put additional financial strain on the families.

But those diapers come at a price, costing between $100 and $120 per month. That’s a lot of money for most families, but for those families living paycheck to paycheck, it’s a cost that can feel insurmountable. Some families have to decide between basic essentials such as food and diapers. Consider that many daycare facilities will not take children without adequate diapers for the day, and you can see how providing free or low cost diapers can play a critical role in keeping working families afloat financially.

Surprisingly, considering how critical diapers are to a child’s and a family’s welfare, diapers are not considered essential and therefore are not covered by federal assistance programs. Diapers are not covered by social welfare systems like WIC or food stamps because they are considered “hygiene items.”

That is why programs like Baby Basics are so important to every community.