“Don’t complain unless you are willing to do something about it” – dad
I recently read an article about diaper banks, and quickly found myself standing in my local Costco’s diaper aisle. My clinical social worker side had immediately kicked in, wanting to help. My human instinct kicked in with rage and wonder as to how any child in America could go without diapers. This was Maslow’s basic need!
As I pushed my cart up down the aisle, I faltered (real life moments) when I quickly learned $39 was the cheapest box. How could a box of diapers be more than my recent heat bill of $34.79? I admit it was a financial sting, but I quickly did the math. A box of 120 diapers came to 33 cents a diaper. One box can help supplement four families for a month by giving them each 40 diapers, or it can help 12 families for a day by giving each parent 10 to take their child to day care. Those numbers reminded me I was committed to the cause. As I stood in the checkout line, I recalled my days as an ER social worker dealing with frantic, yet proud, moms who often crossed my path as a little human suffered.
I have done enough assessments and wellness checks to know most moms are not neglectful. I also have seen enough diaper stretching to have to remind them that when a child wears a wet diaper or dirty diaper for too long, they are more likely to contract skin rashes and urinary tract infections (UTIs). It is truly difficult to detect in non-verbal children, and untreated UTIs can cause serious kidney damage that can lead to scarring, poor growth and high blood pressure among afflicted little humans. In return this can often lead to a CPS case and sometimes spiral into parent child separation.
This can often be prevented if mother received adequate months of TANF assistance. For many, TANF cash is the only way they can buy diapers for their children, as other government assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and WIC do not cover diaper purchases. I find this insidious, as their mission in a nutshell is “Eat well, stay health and be active”. I ask myself, how can a little human be healthy and active if they have a full diaper? How is a parent supposed to work without diapers? Many daycare policies are that a parent must bring 10-12 diapers a day. I find this policy mind-blowing. With the cost of daycare today, shouldn’t this be included in the cost?
However, I am a firm believer that each problem must have a solution. I would like to offer these solutions: 1) write your legislative (What I know for sure, our voices can change laws) 2) buy diapers if you have the means 3) if you don’t have the means, give what you can- even if that means clipping coupons and sticking them to boxes of diapers at your local grocery (Costco does not take manufacturer coupons) 4) volunteering your time- many diaper banks can use a few extra hands to sort donations, help with a drive or stuff envelopes.