A typical baby will need anywhere from 6,000 to 9,000 diaper changes in a lifetime, and too often families are forgoing diapers for food or other necessities.
It's a problem Miki Farris sees often. As executive director of Infant Crisis Services, Farris sees that all the babies helped by the nonprofit have needs to be met, and clean diapers are one of them. That's why the organization is hoping to increase its supply of diapers to donate to needy families during Diaper Need Awareness Week scheduled for Monday through Sept. 17.
A clean change of diapers can cost families $100 or more per week. The organization gives away more than 9,000 diapers a week, and Farris said there are more to help.
“Every baby that comes in here needs diapers,” Farris said. “I think folks would be surprised to learn how many families struggle to provide diapers.”
Government assistance programs don't provide diapers, and Infant Crisis Services is the only diaper bank in central Oklahoma.
As small a thing as they might seem, diapers are important to a baby's health and well-being, Farris said. Going a long time in a soiled diaper can cause infections and rashes. Beyond the sanitation and health issues, parents dropping their babies off at day care to go to work or to go look for work must have diapers for their babies.
A lack of diapers can lead to a range of issues, including problems with behavior, cognitive ability, language development and school adjustment. It can also lead to child abuse and neglect, Farris said.
“Every baby needs a full tummy and a dry bottom,” she said. “We hope letting the community know about this raises awareness.”
Donations for the diaper drive can be dropped off at Infant Crisis Services, 4224 N Lincoln Blvd, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Sept. 17, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 15. The building will be closed Saturday for upgrades and donations will not be accepted. Workers will also be at Leadership Square, 211 N Robinson Ave., on Thursday collecting diapers from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monetary donations can be made at www.infantcrisis.org.