Diaper Need Is Associated with Pediatric Care Use: An Analysis of a Nationally Representative Sample of Parents of Young Children

J Pediatr. 2021 Mar;230:146-151. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2020.10.061. Epub 2020 Oct 29.


Objective: To examine the possible association between diaper need, difficulty affording an adequate amount of diapers, and pediatric care visits for urinary tract infections and diaper dermatitis.

Study design: This cross-sectional analysis using nationally representative survey data collected July-August 2017 using a web-based panel examined 981 parents of children between 0 and 3 years of age in the US (response rate, 94%). Survey weighting for differential probabilities of selection and nonresponse was used to estimate the prevalence of diaper need and to perform multivariable logistic regression of the association between parent reported diaper need and visits to the pediatrician for diaper rash or urinary tract infections within the past 12 months.

Results: An estimated 36% of parents endorsed diaper need. Both diaper need (aOR 2.37; 95% CI 1.69-3.31) and visiting organizations to receive diapers (aOR 2.14; 95% CI 1.43-3.21) were associated with diaper dermatitis visits. Similar associations were found for diaper need (aOR 2.63; 95% CI 1.54-4.49) and visiting organizations to receive diapers (aOR 4.50; 95% CI 2.63-7.70) for urinary tract infection visits.

Conclusions: Diaper need is common and associated with increased pediatric care visits. These findings suggest pediatric provider and policy interventions decreasing diaper need could improve child health and reduce associated healthcare use.

Keywords: child health; diaper bank; healthcare use; policy; poverty; social determinants of health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diaper Rash / epidemiology*
  • Diapers, Infant / statistics & numerical data*
  • Facilities and Services Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • United States
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology*