Finland has done it for 75 years, but now New Jersey is the first state in the U.S. to jump on board with maternity boxes.
Basically, it’s a starter kit that doubles for baby’s first bed. And it’s a cardboard box.
Yep. You read that right.
In 1938, Finland introduced maternity boxes for low-income families. It has since made it universal to all new moms, drastically slashing infant mortality and encouraging healthy sleeping habits for parents and babies.
SIDS blamed for 3,700 deaths in U.S. last year
Babies up to 6 months old can safely sleep in these maternity boxes, designed to curb sudden infant death syndrome.
New Jersey health experts say SIDS accounts for 50 to 60 infant deaths in the state every year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blames SIDS for about 3,700 deaths in the United States in 2016.
Finland’s SIDS rate is two deaths per 1,000 births, compared to six deaths per 1,000 births in the United States, the CDC said.
Co-sleeping and other risk factors
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, several key risk factors can lead to sudden infant death syndrome.
Co-sleeping is one of them. Others include:
- Premature birth.
- Low birth rate.
- Congenital malformations and chromosomal abnormalities.
- Complicated pregnancies.
- Baby’s sleeping behaviors, such as on the stomach.
What’s in the Baby Box?
It’s lined with a tiny baby mattress snuggled inside the box with a sheet. Contents, valued at about $150, include diapers, onesies and breastfeeding supplies.
It also comes with educational resources for expecting parents with what researchers know about SIDS.
Parents can get their Baby Box at Baby Box University after filling out a short form. Bottles are left out to encourage breastfeeding.
Want to know more? Check out these videos.