Some Relief for the Diaper Crisis

What Women Really Think
July 26 2010 5:27 PM

Some Relief for the Diaper Crisis

/blogs/xx_factor/2010/07/26/some_relief_for_the_diaper_crisis/jcr:content/body/slate_image

For style-conscious parents, designer diapers are the hippest new trend. Huggies is now marketing a product in mock-denim *-they’re tiny, more absorbent versions of grown-up jeans. Pampers, not to be outdone, has collaborated with Cynthia Rowley on a line of disposables available in madras, stripes, and an array of pastels. The concept of diaper as fashion statement takes for granted the garment's function for hygiene and health, but, as KJ wrote last month , browsing the baby aisle like a Bloomingdale's catalogue is a luxury not shared by every mother. Luckily for the one-third of American women who can’t afford diapers for their children, change is on the way: The latest round of TANF ARRA stimulus funding awards two states and one Indian nation with federal money meant specifically for diapers.

Advertisement

While the ARRA funding is a one-time gift, it’s a big step in the right direction. KJ noted the importance of private charity in alleviating the diaper crisis, but the magnitude of the problem requires the addition of public assistance. Right now, neither food stamps nor the WIC program-two key resources for low-income mothers-provide for the purchase of diapers. Getting coverage through Medicaid or Medicare is a convoluted process that usually requires diapers to be prescribed as treatment for a patients primary diagnosis (i.e., incontinence in the elderly or mentally disabled). The TANF program doesn’t specifically disallow coverage of sanitary products, but the approval of funding applications explicitly listing diapers shows the government officially recognizing them as a need. Since the effects of the diaper crisis move, quite literally, from the bottom up-threatening public health, barring children from early educational opportunities, and creating a drain on the workforce-it’s in the government’s best interest to keep these changes coming.

*Correction, July 27, 2010: The Huggies diapers are made of mock-denim material, not actual "denim," as the post originally stated.

Photograph of denim diaper by Timothy A. Clary/Getty Images.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.