New Jersey is leading the way in preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). They are sending new baby home with a sturdy cardboard box fitted with a mattress. These boxes are to be used for the first months for baby’s sleeping. They promote healthy sleeping and should reduce sleep complications. Baby Boxes can be used instead of a basinet for new baby. They are given to mothers who register online and who join the program. Babies will go home with some additional gifts inside, like onesies and baby wipes.
These baby boxes originated in Finland, decades ago, as part of a government program to reduce SIDS and now they have the lowest baby mortality rate. Originally offered to low income families, now they are available to every newborn. About 80% of unexpected infant deaths have been attributed to SIDS and some of those deaths have attributed to babies sleeping environment. For the first few months of their lives babies are at a greater risk especially those whose families cannot afford a basinet. These boxes were designed to provide a safe environment for these little ones.
Jernica Quinones was the first mother in New Jersey to receive the free Baby Box. Dr. Kathie McCans, a pediatric emergency physician at Cooper University Hospital said, “It’s really not about the box: it’s about the education… Honestly, people like free things and the box is the incentive for the education.” According to Dr. McCans, in New Jersey in 2014, 57 of the state’s 61 cases of sudden and unexpected infant deaths involved unsafe sleeping circumstances.
Those stories that previous generations told of babies sleeping in a dresser drawer or an old packaging crate make sense now. For centuries parents everywhere made do with what they had available. Many families co-slept, put babies in hand made box basinets and cradles. Since babies only use a basinet for a short period of time before moving into a crib, baby boxes are cost effective as well. Though New Jersey was the first state to offer these baby boxes, they are now available in Ohio and Alabama. These three states combined plan on giving away 350,000 boxes.