New Jersey is taking the lead in keeping newborns safe. On Thursday, the Garden State rolled out its Baby Box program to help reduce infant mortality rates. As part of the program, influenced by the decades-old Finnish practice, expectant parents across the state could register to receive free baby boxes that give their newborns a place to sleep for up to six months. So what's in a Baby Box? A bed that baby can safely sleep on, and more.
There are five different baby boxes available from the Baby Box Co. Their base option, the Finnish-inspired Bed Box, comes with a fitted baby mattress and waterproof mattress cover, an ultra soft cotton sheet, one tote bag, a $25 gift card for future baby box purchases, parenting tips and information, and membership to the Baby Box University, the company's online parenting education program. Expectant parents in New Jersey will receive these standard items, plus other premium baby products depending on availability. Other options for sale on The Baby Box Co. site include full-size shampoo and body wash, board books, and diaper pack.
The concept of the Baby Box was introduced in Finland over seven decades ago. Officials in Finland wanted a way to reduce infant mortality rates, which were 65 deaths per 1,000 births in 1938, according to USA Today. Since introducing the program, public health officials in the country found that providing these boxes, in addition to prenatal care and educational materials, had the exact impact on mortality rates that they were hoping for — in 2013, Finland had 1.3 deaths per 1,000 births. In the United States, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded about 1,500 deaths caused by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome each year. The Baby Box Co. and health officials in New Jersey hope that the new program — the first and only one of the kind stateside — will have the same effect as seen in Finland. Other countries such as Britain and Scotland have introduced their versions of the program as well.
To request a free Baby Box, parents in New Jersey must register online and complete the Baby Box University program first. If you live out of state or the country, you can purchase your very own Baby Box and any of the company's accessories directly from the website.