The White House Aims to Make Diapers Affordable for All

President Obama is unveiling a cross-sector strategy to make diapers affordable for everyone—even America's poorest families. Here's how to get involved.

The White House Aims to Make Diapers Affordable for All Pool/Getty Images

The White House is rolling out a new cross-sector plan to make diapers affordable for even the poorest families in America.

Officials from President Obama's team have released a blog post detailing the reasons behind the plan. In it, assistant to the President and director of the Domestic Policy Council, Cecilia Muñoz calls out the "diaper divide" that is very much a presence in our society.

"I remember being astounded at the rate at which my two girls used diapers when they were born," she writes. "I'd drive out to the big box store and buy case after case, knowing I'd be back soon. Today, many parents can have bulk orders delivered directly to their doorsteps with the diapers their child needs, when they need them—at a lower cost than ever before. Technology and the new economy have given us access to necessities like diapers at just the click of a button."

Muñoz also comments on how the new economic structure has widened the gap between families who can afford diapers and families who cannot. According to the post, one in three American families struggle to afford the diapers they need. Diapers are obviously not a luxury—they're absolutely essential to a baby's hygiene and health, and low-income families reportedly have no choice but to keep their children in the same diapers for longer than they should, which can lead to issues like urinary tract or staph infections.

"When families can't afford a healthy number of diapers for their babies, they're faced with a choice between buying diapers and paying for food, rent, or utilities like heat," the blog post reads. "That's a choice that no family should have to make. In the worst case, over time these kinds of stressors can contribute to the incidence of abuse and neglect of young children." According to the blog post, families described as "lowest-income" spend about 14 percent of their total incomes each year on diapers.

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How will the White House take action to close up this diaper divide? According to the post, President Obama will travel to Texas for South by Southwest, where he'll discuss ways in which technology can be leveraged to solve issues like this for Americans. The White House will enlisting the help of online retailers, diaper manufacturers and non-profit groups to help youth homeless shelter Covenant House double the number of diapers that can be ordered with the same amount of money.

In response to POTUS's call to action, Huggies has already announced a donation of 22 million free diapers to the National Diaper Bank Network. Every diaper donated by the public will be matched from now until April 10.

"By calling these companies and non-profits to the table, we are breaking down the barriers to access and harnessing the tools of the new economy so that they can benefit all families. When you have a baby, diapers are a necessity. They are not optional. Addressing the high cost of diapers for low-income families can help to take one more burden off those families as they strive to reach the middle class, and give the next generation the great start in life that all kids deserve," the blog post reads.

Interested in getting involved? You can post about the initiative using the hashtag #DiaperGap, visit a diaper bank near you or even sign up to become a diaper distributor.