Many financially strapped families have difficulty putting enough food on the table for their young children, but they may also face another hardship that's just as daunting: the inability to provide enough diapers to keep their babies happy and healthy.

Baby wearing diaper
Gaby Kooijman, ThinkStock

"One out of every three families in the United States struggles to buy enough diapers for their children," said Lynn Erdman, CEO of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, adding that 5.3 million babies in low-income families across the nation are affected by diaper need. "It costs about $70 to $80 a month for diapers and we find that that has a huge impact, oftentimes, on families."

AWHONN's Healthy Mom&Baby magazine is reaching a crucial time of year for its "Wipe Out Diaper Need" campaign.

"One of the reasons for that is that's when most babies in this country are born, interestingly enough, is the month of September," Erdman said.

The campaign, conducted in collaboration with the National Diaper Bank Network, culminates with Diaper Need Awareness Week from Sept. 28 through Oct. 4. AWHONN's goal is to donate 100,000 diapers to families in need, via either money or diaper donations. Every dollar donated buys six diapers at wholesale.

New Jersey is not immune to the problem; in fact, there are nine diaper donation banks set up in the Garden State. They are in Clifton, Dover, Hillside, Mt. Arlington, New Brunswick, Newton, Oradell, Paramus and Paterson.

In promoting the drive, Erdman made clear that not wearing a diaper can present major problems for a baby or toddler.

"It can cause skin irritation leading to rashes, which can even lead to an infection and multiple trips to the pediatrician's office," she said.

Furthermore, many parents cannot enroll their infants in certain child care programs without providing a sufficient supply of disposable diapers. That can lead to those parents taking time off of work. If they miss too much time, they could be fired -- taking away what little income some of these families can manage to bring in.

The good news is that AWHONN's efforts seem to be working so far. With about two weeks to go before the conclusion of Awareness Week, the campaign is more than halfway to its goal of 100,000 diaper donations.

For the addresses of the New Jersey banks, or to make a donation, go to

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's evening news anchor. He has wanted to be a broadcaster from the time he was in diapers. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015, email, and listen for his live reports Monday through Thursday nights between 6:30 and 11 p.m.

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