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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

For Want of a Diaper, A Future Could Be Lost. Two Futures.


From Katha Pollitt at The Nation: Here’s a little window into poverty, American- style. According to a Yale University study published in August in Pediatrics magazine, almost 30 percent of low-income women with children in diapers can’t afford an adequate supply of them, with Hispanic women and grandmothers raising grandchildren the most likely to be in need. Some women are forced to make one or two nappies last the whole day, emptying them out and putting them back on the baby. Based on a survey of almost 900 low-income women in and around New Haven, Connecticut, investigators found the lack of diapers—such a simple thing—had profound and complex effects. The risks to children’s health are obvious: rashes, urinary tract infections, painful chafing. (If a mom is too poor to afford diapers, she probably can’t afford diaper cream or wipes or baby powder, either.) But to their surprise, the study authors also found that not being able to provide this necessary item (to say nothing of having a baby prone to fussing because of the discomfort of a constantly wet and dirty bottom) was a major cause of mental problems like stress, anxiety and depression in mothers. Maternal depression, we know, is associated with all kinds of problems in children, especially for poor kids, who need heroic parenting to overcome the many obstacles they face. Diapers are also necessary for kids entering daycare—no diapers, no enrollment. And no enrollment may mean a mother can’t take a job. For want of a diaper, a future could be lost. Two futures. Read more at original post.

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