Cooper University Healthcare and Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative began distributing safe sleep boxes, or baby boxes, to new parents after they take a brief BabyBoxUniversity.com course and quiz.
The education program is expected to run through 2017 under a grant from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control (CDC) awarded to the New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board to reduce Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the state.
There are enough to cover the state’s expected birthrate for the year — 105,000.
The boxes, produced by Baby Box Co., come with a firm mattress, waterproof mattress cover and a fitted sheet and starter necessities like diapers, wipes, nursing cream and pads for mothers and more. According to the company, the safe sleep boxes are inspired by Finland’s maternity boxes, a 75-year tradition that helps the Finnish keep sleep-related infant death rates low.
“Every year we review instances in which infants die suddenly and unexpectedly…In a significant proportion of these deaths, an unsafe sleep circumstance is a contributing factor,” said Dr. Kathryn McCans, an emergency department physician at Cooper University Health Care Hospital and chairwoman of the review board.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines discourage infants sleeping in parents beds, and also without blankets where infants sleep.
This online program for New Jersey parents and the boxes will educate them to create a safe sleep environment and decrease SIDS risks.