House lawmakers call attention to diaper, incontinence product needs across PA

HARRISBURG, Sept. 26 – Members of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Caucus kicked off their 9th annual Capitol Diaper Drive (from Sept. 25-29) today by calling attention to diaper and incontinence product needs, and recognizing Sept. 18-24, 2023 as Diaper Need Awareness Week in Pennsylvania.

The prime sponsors of H.R. 198 (re: Diaper Need Awareness Week) are Rep. Carol Hill-Evans (D-York), Rep. Tina M. Davis (D-Bucks), Rep. Kyle J. Mullins (D-Lackawanna), and Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne).

Hill-Evans also discussed H.B. 229, the Community Diaper and Incontinence Products Act, her proposal to establish a grant program that would improve and expand access to clean diapers for infants, children and incontinent adults through outreach programs, volunteer training and help with fundraising.

“Many people are surprised to learn that public assistance programs like SNAP do not allow parents to purchase diapers with those funds,” Hill-Evans said. “That means diaper banks and similar community organizations are critical resources for those families. And those are the organizations I want to strengthen through House Bill 229.”

The lawmakers noted incontinence products can cost as much as $1,000 a year, which is unaffordable to families and seniors with low or fixed incomes.

A lack of clean, disposable undergarments poses a serious health risk, potentially leading to infection and even death.

“Access to clean diapers and other incontinence products are essential basic needs,” Pashinski said. “Frequent diaper changes prevent painful diaper rash, loss of appetite, staph, urinary infections, renal failure and more. They are not only critical to a baby’s health and happiness, but also to a parent’s health and happiness as an adequate supply of incontinence products reduces parenting stress.”

Davis and Mullins could not attend today’s event but released the following statements:

Davis: "Ensuring access to diapers and incontinence products is not just a matter of quickly and directly helping families, but a testament to our compassion and commitment to the well-being of the commonwealth. By providing these essential items, we empower those facing incontinence challenges to live their lives with dignity and without barriers."

Mullins: “With this week being Diaper Need Awareness Week, there was no better time for my colleagues to kick off the 9th annual Capitol Diaper Drive. Half of American families struggle to provide diapers for their children, impacting more than 15 million children younger than 3 years old, making it an important issue for policymakers to recognize.”