'Baby Boxes' Might Prevent SIDS & They're Finally Coming to the US


The Baby Box Company/BabyBoxCo.com

When you welcome a new baby into the world, there are a million little things to worry about. Suddenly, you've got to furnish an entire nursery, figure out how to work a breast pump, and read 37 different Consumer Reports to decide which car seat you want to buy. Preparing for parenthood is overwhelming, but a new initiative to bring baby boxes to the US might help ease some of that new-parent stress -- at least for moms and dads in New Jersey.

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The "Baby Box" is an idea conceived in Finland over 75 years ago, in an effort to reduce its infant mortality rate. It's basically a cardboard box stuffed with essentials like diapers, a onesie, breast pads, baby wipes, and nipple cream.


The Baby Box Company/BabyBoxCo.com

The box itself doubles as a safe sleeping space for the first few weeks of a baby's life to help reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Thanks to these boxes, Finland now boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

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Many US parents have been clamoring to get their hands on a Baby Box for years, and now the New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Child Fatality Review Board is making those dreams a reality for people in its state. It's partnering with the Baby Box Company in Los Angeles and hoping to provide around 105,000 boxes to new parents in New Jersey this year.

If you live in New Jersey, all you need to do to get one of the boxes is register online. The website walks you through a few guides on safe infant care and asks you to take a brief quiz, then you get to choose whether you'd like to pick up your box or have one delivered to your home.

For now, the boxes are only available for free in New Jersey, thanks to a grant from the CDC, but there's hope that success in implementing the boxes will encourage other states to follow suit. If you've simply gotta have one, you can also purchase your own online.

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Sticking your baby in a box might feel foreign to some of us, especially given the absurd number of sleepers, cribs, and bassinets you can find at most baby stores. It's tempting to opt for something that looks a little cozier, but those fancier sleep options aren't necessarily the safest choice.

SIDS claims the lives of about 1,500 babies in the US each year, and the CDC estimates that up to 93 percent of SIDS deaths are related to unsafe sleeping conditions. A Baby Box takes the guesswork out of infant sleeping arrangements -- at least for the first few weeks -- and it provides essentials that could prove especially helpful to lower-income families. 

If making the switch from bassinets to boxes can help keep babies safe, it's more than worth it for officials and parents in every state to take a chance on something new.

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