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One in Three American Mothers Struggle to Provide Babies With Diapers

One in Three American Mothers Struggle to Provide Babies With Diapers

Published 06-17-10

Submitted by Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

/PRNewswire/ - A groundbreaking new study reveals a startling issue - 1 in 3 American mothers struggle to provide diapers for their babies. These mothers have had to cut back on basics such as food, utilities like heat or electricity, or even child care in order to provide enough diapers.

"This issue of 'diaper need' - mothers struggling to provide diapers for their babies - is serious and has been largely unrecognized until now. This study helps us understand the true scope that this type of material hardship may have, both physically and emotionally, for babies and mothers," said Dr. Cybele Raver, a lead researcher on the study and professor at New York University. "Diapering is an important ritual that offers parents and babies valuable time to create a warm and positive emotional connection. This study helps us to understand the ways that many mothers feel distressed when they are faced with situations where they don't have enough diapers for routine changes. It is clear from this study that not having enough diapers makes the job of parenting more difficult."

One-third of moms struggling with diaper need run out of clean diapers monthly or more often. Babies may be kept in wet, dirty diapers for extended periods of time or, in more extreme cases, made to wear used diapers which have been cleaned or dried out. This may lead to babies suffering not just physically but emotionally. According to the study commissioned by Kimberly Clark's Huggies Brand, babies in diaper need are more likely to show signs of irritation and discomfort, cry or suffer more from diaper rash when they can not be changed than babies who are not living in diaper need.

Another critical impact is mothers' abilities to carry on with necessary daily activities. Nearly one in four mothers struggling with diaper need have missed work or school, stayed at home when they needed to go out, or kept their babies out of daycare because they did not have enough diapers. The majority of licensed day care centers require a full day's supply of disposable, not cloth, diapers. Further, many Laundromats do not allow cloth diapers to be washed for sanitary reasons, making them an unrealistic option for mothers who don't have in-home or private laundry access.

Forty-three percent of mothers struggling with diaper need say they need 14 or more extra diapers per week to feel they have enough. Yet there is little help for these mothers and babies as many community-based organizations don't provide diapers. Public resources are also limited as food assistance programs like food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) focus solely on food and nutrition, and therefore do not cover diapers.

"As a social worker, I was surprised to learn that there were no public subsidies for diapers, and I quit my job six years ago to start a diaper bank to help get free diapers to babies in need and raise awareness of this issue. Unfortunately, there are still only a small number of local diaper banks across the country," said Joanne Goldblum, executive director of The Diaper Bank in New Haven, CT. "The issue of diaper need is much more widespread, particularly in today's difficult economy, which is why the national attention and support from Huggies is so critical."

The Huggies® Every Little Bottom Study was conducted amongst 1,513 mothers in the U.S. with babies in diapers ages 0-4 years old(i). The critical issue of diaper need revealed by this study prompted Huggies to develop a nationwide response -- Every Little Bottom.

Up to 20 Million Diapers to Babies in Need
Huggies Every Little Bottom was created with a single mission -- to help get diapers to babies in need. As a first step, Huggies will donate up to 20 million diapers in the U.S. in the next eight months. Huggies will kick off the donation with two million diapers given to ten local diaper banks across the country. These organizations are making a remarkable difference in their communities and this donation will help get assistance for even more babies.

In addition, these diaper banks are working with Huggies to help develop a sustainable solution to diaper need. This solution will include building awareness of diaper need, making additional diaper donations, and forging national and local partnerships that will provide the community-based support needed.

"We now better understand the widespread extent of diaper need in this country, and Huggies is committed to getting diapers to babies in need. We understand that diaper donations are only part of the solution," said Stu Schneider, senior director of the Huggies Brand. "For Huggies, this is just the beginning of our long-term commitment to help, and we encourage communities around the country to join us in supporting this issue."

In order to accomplish this, Huggies has forged partnerships with several organizations to help spread the word about diaper need and get people involved at the community level. Already, the March of Dimes, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, United Way, National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses, National Latina Health Network, National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, and many Junior Leagues have joined Every Little Bottom and committed to supporting its mission.

For more information about diaper need and how to get involved, visit

About Huggies® Every Little Bottom
Huggies® Every Little Bottom has a single mission -- to help get diapers to babies in need in the U.S. and Canada. The program was developed in response to a groundbreaking new study that revealed the critical issue of diaper need. Diaper need is the struggle to provide babies with diapers. Today, 1 in 3 American and 1 in 5 Canadian mothers struggle with diaper need, and have had to cut back on basics - food, utilities such as heat or electricity, or even childcare - in order to provide enough diapers for their babies. With the support of partner organizations, grassroots efforts and moms across the country, the program will build awareness of the issue and work to create a long-term solution.

About Kimberly-Clark
Kimberly-Clark and its well-known global brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 150 countries. Every day, 1.3 billion people - nearly a quarter of the world's population - trust K-C brands and the solutions they provide to enhance their health, hygiene and well-being. With brands such as Kleenex, Scott, Huggies, Pull-Ups, Kotex and Depend, Kimberly-Clark holds the No. 1 or No. 2 share position in more than 80 countries. To keep up with the latest K-C news and to learn more about the company's 138-year history of innovation, visit

(i) The Huggies® Every Little Bottom thought-leadership study was conducted by Abt SRBI in collaboration with Dr. Cybele Raver, the director of New York University's Institute of Human Development and Social Change, and Dr. Nicole Letourneau, Canada Research Chair in Healthy Child Development and Professor at the University of New Brunswick. The telephone survey averaged 20 minutes in duration and was fielded in English and Spanish in the United States, and English and French in Canada. The study was fielded in February 2010 among a nationally representative sample of mothers with babies 0-4 years old who currently use diapers in the United States and Canada. In total, 1,513 mothers in the United States and 1,008 mothers in Canada were surveyed. The study includes a representative sample of American mothers living in poverty and Canadian mothers living below the low income limit (based on governmental guidelines). At the 95% confidence level, the study has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points in either direction for the United States (1,513 sample), and 3.1 percentage points in either direction for Canada (1,008 sample). The margin of error increases for smaller subgroups evaluated. Opinion polls in general can be subject to other errors based on practical difficulties in conducting surveys.

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Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide

Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide (Ogilvy PR) is a global, multidisciplinary communications leader operating in more than 80 markets. For more than two decades, Ogilvy PR has been at the forefront of social marketing—advancing personal and public health and safety and broader socially desirable goals via communications initiatives. We have developed numerous social marketing campaigns to successfully raise awareness, educate and prompt action regarding some of today’s largest and most complex issues, ranging from cancer to cardiovascular health, substance abuse to homeland security, youth violence prevention to disaster preparedness, and much more. Named Large Agency of the Year by The Holmes Report and PRNews, Ogilvy PR is a unit of Ogilvy & Mather, a WPP company (NASDAQ: WPPGY), one of the world’s largest communications service groups. For more information, visit and Twitter: @ogilvypr.

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