Meanwhile, assistance options for vulnerable parents—like the young mother featured in the article named Lalandria Goolsby—are limited. Thanks to the way our social assistance programs work, only cash assistance is eligible to spend on diapers. SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and WIC cannot be used for them. In Florida, a family of three that makes more than $303 is ineligible.
Struggling to afford diapers has an impact on both parents and babies. Cheaper brands tend to more easily cause rashes, which also appear when parents try to stretch out diapers and keep them on the child for too long. Diapers are a constant need and when parents can’t sufficiently provide them, they struggle mentally and emotionally under extremely trying conditions. This effect will inevitably have an impact on the baby, too.
Some states have taken measures to address the so-called “silent crisis” of diaper access, but the federal government has pretty much dropped the ball.
In March 2016, it caught the attention of the White House.
In a blog post, an advisor to then-President Barack Obama pointed out that families can be forced to choose between buying diapers and paying for food, rent or utilities.
“That’s a choice that no family should have to make,” she wrote.
Obama urged Congress to devote $10 million to the problem. Congress did nothing.
Considering that we have an extremely anti-woman, anti-compassion administration right now, it’s unlikely to see a change any time soon, which is a pity. Meanwhile, we will continue to have families around the richest country in the world struggle to afford a basic need for their babies: diapers.