CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Buying diapers can put a strain on a family's budget, especially a family living below the poverty level.
Nurse practitioner Joannah Lynch of the Neighborhood Family Practice in Cleveland discovered something disturbing. Many parents are putting dirty diapers back on their children.
"The way I noticed it is, parents would take the diaper off the baby to get the checkup done, and even though that diaper was wet or soiled, they would put it back on because they didn't have enough diapers to adequately diaper their children," said Lynch.
Lynch did some research and realized just how widespread the problem is.
"One in three families in the U.S. is affected by diaper need. Here in Cleveland, it's even worse. Half of the children here live in poverty, so it's a huge problem made worse because subsidies don't cover it, and the only diaper bank in Cleveland shut down last November," added Lynch.
Diapers for one child can cost as much as $1,000 a year.
Laurette Eteko of Cleveland says on average, she spends $50 every three weeks on diapers for her nearly 2-year-old Ebenezer.
"It's so hard, you know I'm not working right now," said Eteko. Luckily, she says she's never had to reuse a disposable diaper on her son.
Putting a dirty diaper back on your child or not changing your child's diaper frequently enough can put a child at risk for a serious infection.
"The problems that we see with diaper needs here in the office are diaper rash and infections that can come from putting a dirty diaper back on your child," said Lynch.
Lynch says diaper needs also affects the whole family unit because when children don't have clean diapers, they cry more and that can lead to child abuse or increased stress and depression in parents.
To help fill the need, Lynch recently decided to launch a diaper drive.
"The way people can join in that would be the website, you can send through Amazon on the website. You can, in person, show up to about 25 d rop off sites around Cleveland, east side and west side locations," said Lynch.
The hope is that Cleveland area families will get the help they need so that no child is going without a clean diaper.
Click here for more information or to donate diapers: CLEdiaperdrive.wordpress.com