The United States is joining the ranks of nations that offer new parents special “baby boxes” full of newborn essentials and even function as beds. Parents in New Jersey will be the first in the country to have access to these kits thanks to The Baby Box Company and New Jersey’s Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board (CFNFRB).
Finland has been supplying baby boxes since the 1930s and has seen rapid declines in the rate of infant deaths, a trend that will hopefully spread to the United States. The boxes include diapers, clothes, baby wipes, breast pads, a mattress to serve as the baby’s first bed and more.
New parents can register online at “Baby Box University” to receive their free box after completing a series of brief videos and courses designed by healthcare professionals that discuss newborn care.
“Our goal is to provide universal access to both education and physical resources for New Jersey parents,” said Jennifer Clary, Baby Box Company CEO and co-founder. The company aims to instruct new parents and provide them with the support and assistance they need.
The value of the boxes extends far beyond making the transition into parenthood more smooth. According to a 2016 CFNFRB report, an estimated 93 percent of infant fatalities related to Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS) that the board reviewed were related to improper sleep and sleep environments.
Raising awareness around infant sleep safety is central to the program and is critical to preventing infant fatalities. “In taking the online syllabus, we hope parents will learn the importance of safe sleep environments,” said Dr. Kathryn McCans, CFNFRB chair.
The boom of the baby box movement brings hope for new parents to receive the training and resources they need and to bring awareness to the importance of proper infant care.
Top photo by Jacky W. CC BY 2.0
Lauren Leising is a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia.