For those who have never heard of a baby box, the concept might seem a little foreign. Why would a baby need a box? And why is this something Finland has been providing new parents since the 1930s? A little research will soon show the amazing value of this simple object, as it not only functions as a safe bed for babies, but it comes with materials and a learning guide to help new parents make informed decisions about infant sleep environments and how to best care for their baby. This is hugely important as 93 percent of infant fatalities related to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS) can be attributed to an unsafe sleeping environment, according to a 2016 New Jersey's Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board (CFNFRB) report.
Thanks to the baby box, incidents of SUIDs may be reduced, which, in part, is why Finland has the lowest infant mortality rate.
Scotland and England have both jumped on the bandwagon to provide parents with the baby box, but America has yet to provide widespread free access to this amazing resource. The United States. is, however, moving in the right direction as New Jersey was just named the first state to give parents free baby boxes. This is so important for the U.S., where approximately 3,500 SUIDs occur per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CFNFRB partnered with The Baby Box Company for the initiative. New parents are going to be able to register online for "Baby Box University" to receive their free box. The "course" element requires parents to watch videos about safe newborn care. After they successfully complete the course, they will be given a baby box valued at $150. The box includes diapers, wipes, clothes, an activity chart, breast cream, and more. Plus, the box doubles as a baby's first bed thanks to the included waterproof mattress and fitted sheet.
Baby Box Company CEO and co-founder Jennifer Clary told The Huffington Post, "Our goal is to provide universal access to both education and physical resources for New Jersey parents."
CNN reported that the company will distribute approximately 105,000 free boxes in New Jersey, which is the estimated number of births for this year. The funding for the boxes is coming from a grant and donations that CFNFRB received.
The Baby Box Company currently has city-wide programs in San Francisco, Minneapolis, and St. Paul, along with international programs. The company also has plans to expand into Canada by end of March.
For parents who live outside of these areas, they are able to purchase baby boxes between $70 and $250.
The education combined with the products in the baby boxes will hopefully help reduce the risk of infant mortality and help parents raise healthy kids.