New Jersey is stepping up babies’ chances of survival by giving away sturdy, safe boxes for them to sleep in – for free. Along with additional newborn essentials, these giveaways are a part of the Garden State’s universal baby box program. It is the first of its kind in the USA, and aims to lower infant mortality rates.
The baby box program was based on Finland’s, which has been in place since the 1930s. In New Jersey now, any expecting parent or parents of babies younger than 3 months old can go online, take a short educational program and get a baby box filled with items a baby will need. The box can then serve as a safe sleeping place, CNN reports.
The program is a partnership between The Baby Box Co., based in California, and the New Jersey’s Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, on a grant from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
The grant was intended to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and improve overall family health care.
According to Baby Box Co., the program is set to continue past 2017, based on its success. This will be measured by how and if parents use the boxes, along with improvements tracked in the state’s health results.
The boxes, made of sturdy cardboard, are distributed at Cooper University Healthcare and Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative. They are fitted with a mattress, a waterproof cover, and a fitted sheet. There are diapers, wipes, breast cream, breast pads, a onesie and an activity kit. The total cost per box is around $150.
Jennifer Clary, CEO and co-founder of Baby Box Co., said the company will distribute 105,000 free boxes in New Jersey. This is the anticipated number of births in 2017, and every expecting family will receive one.
Parents must register for free at babyboxuniversity.com as New Jersey residents, including their contact information. There is a 15-minute video for them to watch, and a short quiz to get a certificate of completion. Then the parents can collect their box from the nearest distribution partner or have it shipped to their address.