This State Will Give New Parents a Product That's Proven to Save Babies' Lives

January 27th 2017

Mike Rothschild

One U.S. state has begun giving new parents a product known to help babies be much healthier and reduce infant mortality. Plus, it's at no cost to the parents. 

New and expectant parents in the state of New Jersey will be able to register online with Baby Box University starting Thursday to receive a sturdy cardboard box filled with the following items: baby clothes, burp clothes, diapers, bibs, bath supplies, a fitted mattress, bed sheet, educational materials and more. New Jersey will offer over 100,000 baby boxes to new parents, funded by a Centers for Disease Control grant as well as private donations to the Baby Box Company.

“Our goal is to provide universal access to both education and physical resources for New Jersey parents,” Jennifer Clary, Baby Box Company CEO and co-founder, told The Huffington Post. “These two components go hand in hand.” 

In order to get their box, parents will have to take an online quiz on sleep hygiene and baby care and the boxes will come with an educational program teaching new parents how to care for babies and to ensure they're being put to sleep correctly.

But the baby box is hardly a new concept. 

Finnish Baby Box 1947

“It’s not that Finland was transformed by cardboard boxes,” Clary told Quartz. “It’s that they led with education and community support.”

In 1938, Finland began to give new low-income mothers the "New Mother's Baby Box," which contained newborn essentials and a firm mattress that all conveniently fit inside the box. Finland started giving them to all mothers in 1949 - contingent on prenatal visits and parental education. The boxes led to lower mortality rates, and has helped the country achieve "one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world," according the the Baby Box Company's website. Finland has experienced a dramatic drop in infant mortality, from 65 deaths per 1,000 live births to 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. 

In the U.S., infant mortality rates have crept over six deaths per 1,000 births, far worse than other wealthy western nations. The vast majority of these deaths take place in unsafe sleep environments, and can be prevented by proper education and bedding. The increase in sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) deaths has led to small scale attempts to reproduce Finland's baby box program, including in Seattle, the Twin Cities, and Philadelphia

New Jersey Baby Box

If the program is successful in New Jersey, the Baby Box Company hopes to roll it out to more U.S. states.

To learn more about baby boxes and the positive impact it can have on new parents, watch this video from ATTN: