new-jersey-baby-box

(Facebook/The Baby Box Company)

Much has been made of Finland’s famed baby boxes. Since 1938, parents in Finland have been given a large box full of clothes, blankets, and other essential baby supplies. The boxes come fitted with a mattress and sheet so the box can actually be used as a crib. The idea of putting babies down to sleep in cardboard boxes might seem odd at first, but Finland’s baby box program has been credited with playing a big part in dramatically reducing infant mortality rates in Finland. The program has been such an enormous success that other countries are copying it. Scotland just rolled out its own baby box program, and now parents in the U.S. will finally get baby boxes of their own, because New Jersey has decided to start giving them out.

Over the past 70 years, Finland’s infant mortality rates dropped dramatically, from one of the highest infant mortality rates in Europe to the very lowest. To be fair, Finland was extremely poor in the 1930s. The boxes came out in that time, but so did public health care, dramatically reduced poverty, and significant advances in prenatal care and education for new parents. Still, the boxes are not an insignificant part of Finland’s commitment to providing care and an “equal start” for all its citizens.

Now, according to ABC News, the boxes are coming to New Jersey. To get a box, parents must register at BabyBoxUniversity.com with an address and proof of New Jersey residency. They also have to watch a 10-minute educational video about babies and baby safety, and then take a short online quiz to make sure they were paying attention.

That’s not a lot to do to earn a very large box full of baby essentials! And the box really could be a big step for baby safety. U.S. experts estimate that 93 percent of Sudden Infant Death cases are due to unsafe sleeping practices. The boxes are designed with safe sleeping in mind, and the safety video surely includes information telling parents to put babies to sleep on their backs, and never to use pillows or blankets with them.

It would be amazing if these boxes could be given to all parents. Maybe other states will copy New Jersey’s lead in the ear future. In the meantime, parents not in New Jersey can buy boxes from The Baby Box Co. for between $69 and $225.

The boxes are cute and convenient, but I can’t believe they had to add a disclaimer telling parents not to put the lid on the box while the baby is sleeping in it!

“Please note: the lid is NOT for use while the baby is inside the box!! The lid is intended for storage purposes only,” the site says.

Maybe “do not put the lid on the box while the baby is sleeping in it” will be on the test.