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ZERO TO THREE Endorses Bill to Address Diaper Need

End Diaper Need Act of 2019 Would Give Help Support Basic Needs of Infants and Toddlers

WASHINGTON—Early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE endorsed today new legislation to provide free diapers and diapering products to babies and toddlers in need across the United States.

The End Diaper Need Act of 2019—introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Rep. DeLauro—would create a demonstration program for distributing diaper in states, communities and nonprofit organizations. Distributors would have discretion on how to implement the program, and how to best distribute diapers to eligible families in their communities.

One in three American families reports experiencing diaper need, but there is no federal help for the 5 million children under age 3 living in poor or near-poor families. According to the State of Babies Yearbook: 2019, only one in five households with an infant or toddler in poverty receives cash assistance through the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

“No family should have to decide between buying diapers or groceries, which is why ZERO TO THREE supports the End Diaper Need Act of 2019,” said Jones-Taylor. “It’s unacceptable that infants and toddlers in the United States are going without diapers. With most children under age 3 living in low- to moderate-income families, the need for diapers is an everyday stress on children in America, causing severe discomfort and preventable illness in babies, and anxiety for parents and caregivers.”

Data on Babies’ Basic Needs Babies in many states face persistent hardships—such as food insecurity, unstable housing and exposure to violence—that undermine their ability to grow and thrive, according to a report released last week by ZERO TO THREE and nonpartisan research organization Child Trends.

The State of Babies Yearbook: 2019 found that:

  • As many as 45 percent of infants and toddlers live in poor or low-income households, challenging their ability to meet basic needs like diapers.
  • Twenty-three percent of children in the United States under age 3 are living in poverty.
  • Just 20.6 percent of families with infants and toddlers experiencing poverty are receiving support from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

“For the first time, we’re telling the state-by-state story of America’s babies, and the picture isn’t as rosy as you might think,” said Jones-Taylor. “We have work to do and doing right by our infants and toddlers will require policies based on sound science and budgets that make babies a priority. The bill introduced today to reduce diaper need in the United States is critical to giving our babies a strong start in life. Delay is not an option.”

Learn more about the Yearbook, see the national profile and access data on nearly 60 indicators of baby well-being for all 50 states and the District of Columbia at stateofbabies.org.

About ZERO TO THREE ZERO TO THREE works to ensure all infants and toddlers benefit from the family and community connections critical to their well-being and development. Since 1977, the organization has advanced the proven power of nurturing relationships by transforming the science of early childhood into helpful resources, practical tools and responsive policies for millions of parents, professionals and policymakers. For more information, and to learn how to become a ZERO TO THREE member, please visit zerotothree.org, facebook.com/zerotothree, or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.

About Think Babies™ ZERO TO THREE created the Think Babies campaign to make the potential of every baby a national priority. When we Think Babies and invest in infants, toddlers, and their families, we ensure a strong future for us all. Learn more at thinkbabies.org or follow @ZEROTOTHREE on Twitter.

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