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'Diaper Debacle': Families Brace For Price Hike Due To Supply Chain Disruption

DENVER (CBS4) - Diapers are a major cost for families and soon a manufacturing issue may prompt companies to raise their prices.

"I don't know what I would do without diapers," said Caroline Keller, who welcomed a baby boy just three weeks ago. "We're in this diaper debacle, the regular ones work the best, as far as no blowouts, the cloth ones are the bulkiest."

Finding out which diaper brand to stick with is a work in progress. Keller wants the most sustainable and environmentally friendly option, but feels for other moms when considering the cost.

"I think who's really going to be the victim are the babies," she said.

Nielsen, a market research firm, estimates diaper prices have increased 9% in the last year. CBS4 gauged some of the diaper prices. One box of diapers size 2-5 is currently about $25. Procter and Gamble and other parent companies of major diaper brands recently announced they will raise prices again in June.

"Families experiencing diaper needs will sometimes dry urine-soaked diapers, flip them inside out, tape them to their babies," said Lindsey Zaback, Director of the nonprofit WeeCycle.

The program collects gently used items, as well as diapers, for families in need.

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"Originally for 2020, our goals were to distribute 300,000 diapers," she told CBS4.

WeeCycle ended up giving out 1.1 million diapers. Zaback said the mark-up in pricing will affect the need for diapers in the community.

"An extra $5-$10 a month is a big deal. It means paying an electric bill. It means paying for food," she explained.

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Keller thinks higher diaper prices during a downturn could have more people rethinking disposable diapers.

"Because if you do purchase cloth diapers, you can wash them on your own at home," Keller said.

But she also questions why the companies must raise prices. According to analysts, a winter storm in Texas shut down chemical plants that produce materials used in diapers.

"The communities, or the people or the companies can do something," she said. "I'm sure that Pampers isn't in too much of a bind."

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