New Jersey has become the first state to adopt what has been called the Baby Box initiative. The idea comes from Finland and is also used in Canada. The main purpose of the program is to reduce the chances of sudden infant death syndrome.
The New Jersey Baby Box Initiative was inspired by the Finnish Baby Box intervention, which has led to Finland having the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. New Jersey’s Child Fatality & Near Fatality Review Board (CFNFRB) now offers free Baby Boxes to every new or expecting family in New Jersey.
The Baby Box itself is designed to serve as an infant’s sleeping space for the first months of life. The box is made out of durable cardboard.
Baby Boxes in New Jersey come with:
* Pampers Swadders diapers
* Pampers baby wipes
* Vroom activity cards from Bezos Family Foundation
* Lansinoh breast pads and nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers
* Firm mattress that fits inside the Baby Box
In order to receive a Baby Box, a parent must register at Baby Box University. A parent must also watch the 10-15 minute educational video that is on the Baby Box website, and then take a short quiz about the information in the video.
New Jersey parents can pick up their Baby Boxes from one of three different locations (but must schedule an appointment first). They can get it from the location closest to where they live. Or, a parent can choose to have the Baby Box shipped to their address.
Finland started the Baby Box initiative in the 1938. It is a maternity package the Finnish government gives to all expectant mothers for free.
Baby Boxes in Finland come with:
* Mattress, mattress cover, under sheet, duvet cover, blanket, sleeping bag/quilt.
* Snowsuit, hat, insulated mittens and booties
* Light hooded suit and knitted overalls
* Socks and mittens, knitted hat and balaclava
* Bodysuits, romper suits and leggings in unisex colors and patterns
* Hooded bath towel, nail scissors, hairbrush, toothbrush, bath thermometer, diaper cream, washcloth
* Cloth diaper set and muslin squares
* Picture book and teething toy
* Bra pads and condoms
Canada started a Baby Box experiment in 2015. (Distribution began in 2016.) The program included about 50 moms across the province of Calgary. Participants had to fill out questionnaires and connect with another adult in their social network. That adult becomes the mother’s mentor.
Baby Boxes in Canada come with:
* Sleep sack
* Nursing pads (to encourage breastfeeding)
* Baby thermometer
* Information booklets (from Alberta Health Services)
* Environmentally friendly baby shampoo
* A book (for baby)
* Foam mattress pad and sheet (that meets the Canadian regulations for a bassinet).
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