It’s an essential for all parents with newborns or young children.
However, a new report has revealed that 140,000 families across Australia are struggling to afford a sufficient quantity of nappies for their children. The Nappy Collective, a volunteer-led non-profit behind the report, announced over a quarter of a million Australian children are currently impacted.
"Nappy stress appears to be a persistent problem in Australia,” Lani Masuku, CEO of the Nappy Collective, stated in the report. “The implications of nappy stress include significant health risks for babies, impact on mental health and well-being of parents, and the cost burden of providing nappies to one, two, or even in some cases three children.”
Nappy stress is characterized as parents who do not have adequate supplies to change their baby as often as required.
The report states it is driven by three key factors: income shortage, mounting living costs, and general social disadvantage. As a result, those most likely to be impacted are people experiencing unemployment, those living in public housing, and children in single-parent households.
A 2018 study by peak welfare body ACOSS revealed over 3 million people live below the poverty line in Australia, including 739,000 children, or 17.3% of Australia’s child population. Those living below the poverty line and impacted by nappy stress is shown to have risen, up from 208,000 in 2006 to around 250,000 in 2016.
"The need for nappies is constantly growing as is our list of over 200 charity partners,” Masuku stated. “Our research reveals that disadvantaged families need about 380 million nappies per year, which amounts to an estimated $191 million worth of nappies nationally.”
The Nappy Collective anticipates that without significant changes to government policy, like stronger social security support, child poverty rates will linger and those impacted by nappy stress will continue to increase.
In the meantime, the Nappy Collective has been able to provide over 2.6 million nappies to individuals and families facing disadvantage since 2013. The collective is currently asking Australians to donate leftover nappies to local drop off points around the nation, which they will then collect and distribute.