"Resources + education + support system = lives saved." That's the equation that Baby Box Co., which is dedicated to decreasing infant mortality, has established to encourage soon-to-be and new parents to get information about safe sleeping habits for babies. It's the whole concept behind the Baby Box, which, in addition to getting key information to those who need it, is an actual, physical box filled with goodies — and it's free to families in a growing number of states. So, which states are giving out Baby Boxes, and how can you get one? The process is simple, the support long-lasting, and it could be life-saving in it quest to reduce the number of sudden unexplained infant deaths in as many communities as possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 3,700 sudden unexplained infant deaths in 2015, a number that represented a small but significant uptick in recent years. This increase can be attributed in part to risky sleeping behaviors among newborns like bed-sharing, NPR reported. That's where the Baby Box system comes in. In Ohio, New Jersey, and — starting this week — Alabama, new and expectant parents can simply log on to the Baby Box University website to watch education videos about keeping babies safe while they're sleeping. After taking a quiz, the box is theirs, free of charge.
Featuring a firm foam mattress and tight-fitting sheet, the box is portable and meant to serve as the baby's first bed. When families receive it, it's also filled with essentials like breastfeeding accessories, a onesie, diapers, and wipes, according to NPR. But what really makes the program truly "transformational" are the education, health care, and community components it inspires and fosters, according to the website. For example, individual hospitals that are involved have the option to create their own syllabi unique to their communities' health care needs, and require parents to complete them before getting their Baby Boxes.
The goal, of course, is to get parents involved with the Baby Box University program for the free products, and get them to stay for the resources the education platform provides. These range from articles to forums and even include an "ask an expert" capability.
Only New Jersey, Ohio, and Alabama are offering free Baby Boxes to all babies born within their borders. Other parents, though, do have access to the resources Baby Box University offers, as well as the option to buy a Baby Box and related merchandise online. As more and more parents decide to do this — and more states make this resource free — it's quite likely that infant mortality rates in this country will decrease over time. And that's something to celebrate.