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Chicago nurses donate thousands of diapers

Nurse collect and donate diapers to families struggling to afford the necessity for the young children

A group of nurses who are members of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses donated more than 7,000 diapers to a Chicago-based diaper bank supporting needy mothers, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article published Feb. 19, 2017.

According to the article, the nurses have been part of an ongoing effort to “eradicate the diaper divide, partnering with the National Diaper Bank Network founded by Huggies in 2011.”

“The network comprises 300-plus diaper banks nationwide that monthly serve 336,000 children from needy families,” the Sun-Times article stated. “According to national statistics, the lowest-income quintile of families spend 14% of their income on diapers, which unlike food or health insurance, aren’t covered by programs like WIC, SNAP or Medicaid.”

The article quoted Kim Armour, director of women’s health, obstetrics and neonatology at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, who said, “the issue is becoming more visible, but there’s still much work to be done.”

baby having his diaper changedAWHONN has collected more than 250,000 diapers so far, according to its website.

“Nurses are at the frontlines of caring for infants affected by health issues that result from not having enough clean, dry diapers,” said AWHONN CEO Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN, in a press release on the AWHONN website. “We’re proud that AWHONN nurses, along with Huggies and the National Diaper Bank Network, are making strides to close the diaper gap, improving the lives of families and their babies.”

Donations welcome

The AWHONN press release stated that a $10 donation will diaper a baby for one week, or $20 for two weeks, through the National Diaper Bank Network. “Every $1 donated buys six diapers at wholesale to support these families,” the press release stated.

In the last three years, 5.8 million American babies were born into poor or low income families, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. “That means as many as 2,600 diapers are needed per baby, per year — which adds up to more than 15 billion diapers annually,” the website stated.

A checklist on the website suggests reaching out to agencies such as health clinics to start a local diaper bank; set goals for collection; develop a way to track progress; select a start and end date; choose one or two places centrally located for collections; label the collection bins clearly and colorfully; locate volunteers to help; spread the word via social media; and set up transportation and volunteers for collecting and delivering them.

In March 2016, the Obama administration sought to expand access to affordable diapers for America’s poorest families to avoid serious health problems for babies that can include urinary tract and staph infections.

In an article called “The Diaper Divide” on the White House website, author Cecelia Muñoz stated, “Nearly 1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their babies. In some cases, moms and dads stretch the time between diaper changes to make their limited resources last.”

Click here for a list of peds-related CE activities.




By | 2020-04-15T16:42:38-04:00 March 14th, 2017|Categories: Featured Posts, Nursing news|Tags: , , |8 Comments

About the Author:

Sallie Jimenez
Sallie Jimenez is content manager for healthcare for from Relias. She develops and edits content for the blog, which covers industry news and trends in the nursing profession and healthcare. She also develops content for the Digital Editions. She has more than 25 years of healthcare journalism, content marketing and editing experience.


  1. Avatar
    Rose March 19, 2017 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    Thank you for on line everything right now!it is much appreciated coming from an RN hurt on the job,spent my holidays having lower back fusion ill never the same but my love for nursing gets me through this process and the hope i will return

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    LindaRosaRN March 20, 2017 at 12:09 am - Reply

    A diaper service with cloth diapers is just as convenient, cheaper, and better for mom, baby, and the environment.

  3. Avatar
    Kathleen B March 20, 2017 at 12:15 am - Reply

    I think your program is admirable but the thought of 15 billion diapers in the landfill is overwhelming. How about using something more sustainable like cloth diapers?

  4. Avatar
    P R Joplin March 20, 2017 at 6:56 am - Reply

    Comment on the Diaper Divide. My infant son had a skin reaction to disposable diapers, therefore after consulting my Grandmother she said to try cloth diapers. Granted cloth diapers are more work but no more painful looking rash on my son’s buttocks. My husband and I were both in school and living off a Nurse Aides salary, so money was sparse and going to a laundry mat is always an adventure. A one time investment in cloth diapers, and a laundry pail is much more cost effective, better for the infant and the landfills.

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    Carol March 20, 2017 at 12:47 pm - Reply

    This is admirable. But when I was a new mother and could not afford disposables I used cloth diapers, though it was considered a thing of the past. I only used disposables when my son was in the care of someone else. It cut down a lot on the cost. I don’t understand why people don’t see this as an option. Everyone wants things to be easy. Why don’t we encourage this for mothers who are struggling?

    • Avatar
      Eileen Nystrom March 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm - Reply

      I, too used cloth diapers and even sewed my own. It is very simple to sew one of two ways. A triangle makes a nice fitting diaper for very small babies and for the older baby a square piece of white flannel folded into thirds make an excellent diaper for the bigger baby. If you have no access to a sewing machine, just fold into thirds. It isn’t hard to wash the diapers out in the bathtub or kitchen sink followed by a little bleach to clean the sink for dish washing or food preparation. Even a bucket (plastic or metal will work.) Does it take a little time, yes, but it can save you some $$ and time away from your home to go to a laundromat!

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    Sharon Hicks March 20, 2017 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    I too used cloth diapers for all three of my children. I could not afford disposable diapers. I wish they had a program like this when my children were babies. I feel like my children experienced more diaper rashes because the cloth diapers did not absorb urine the way disposable diapers do. I also feel like during the winter months they would wake up because they were cold due to being exposed to a wet diaper. Great job nurses for this amazing act of kindness!

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    Briggette Grey- Scott March 21, 2017 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    I’m sorry don’t want to seem to be heartless but teach people to use cloth diapers. Yes they are more labor intensive but cheaper. Also they are better for the environment. A few cloth diapers and a diaper pail are a fraction of the cost of disposable diapers.

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