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Moms struggle with the expense of diapers, study says

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AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

(Read caption) Moms struggle to purchase diapers for their children and can suffer from depression and anxiety because of it. Huggies diapers and a box of Kirkland diapers are on display at Costco Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011, in, Portland, Ore.

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That classic diaper robbery scene from the Coen Brothers comedy “Raising Arizona” is getting less funny by the minute.

Yale School of Medicine study in the August edition of the journal Pediatrics finds that 30 percent of women cannot afford enough diapers for their children. It further finds that those women are more in danger of depression and anxiety.

If you've ever raised an infant, you know that the hassle of diapers is no laughing matter – travel plans necessarily include and to some degree revolve around some provision for hauling, shipping, or buying piles of diapers on site, and the speed with which used diapers can fill a trash bag is disconcerting to say the least. And if you're struggling to make ends meet, the sheer expense is non-trivial: buying enough disposable diapers for an infant can take 6 percent of a single mother's annual minimum wage income of $15,080, the survey finds. Cloth diapers are no silver bullet – the time and expense involved in laundering cloth diapers is as bad or worse than their eco-hostile, disposable brethren. 

This insight into the cost of diapers – seemingly minor, but actually an important window into one of the many facets of poverty – couldn't come at a more relevant time, as a recent Associated Press survey reveals that a full four–fifths of Americans wrestle with near-poverty, joblessness, and/or reliance on welfare at some point in their lives, a trend exacerbated by a collapse of domestic manufacturing jobs and a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

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