What Is a Baby Box and Could It Help Your Baby?

TongRo Images Inc/Getty Images

If you haven't heard of a baby box yet, allow me to assure you that it's not some new-fangled program to deliver babies in boxes. What baby boxes are, however, are simple ways to help a lot of babies. And that's definitely worth learning about.

A Long Tradition

Baby boxes are a long-held tradition in other countries, such as Finland. When a mother has a baby in Finland, the government provides her with the choice between a check or a simple cardboard box that is stuffed full of valuable baby items, including a sleeper, clothes, diapers, bathing supplies, bedding, outdoor gear, and even a small mattress—and the box itself can double as a bed. Parents can place the provided mattress at the bottom of the box, creating a small crib for their babies to sleep in.

The boxes, although simple, are a safe sleeping environment that has helped reduce the rate of SIDS in Finland. It's been reported that the majority of parents actually choose to take the box over the check, showing how powerful the boxes really are.

The boxes also provide an opportunity to get necessary information into parents' hands, especially about safe sleeping habits. Let's face it—when you're leaving the hospital with your newborn and you have a ton of supplies and your nurse is trying to throw information at you, you may not always remember it.The baby boxes are an easy way to make sure parents have everything they need to give their baby the best start in life.

Because of the efforts of the Finnish government to get baby boxes to every family welcoming a new baby, Finland is reported to have one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the entire world.

Baby Boxes Come to the U.S.

New Jersey made headlines as the first state in the United States to partner with The Baby Box Co. to bring baby boxes—just like the Finland baby boxes—to new families in their state. The New Jersey baby boxes include baby supplies, as well as a fitted sheet and mattress, and state officials hope that the boxes will help decrease the rate of infant mortality due to SIDS in the state.

The U.S., unfortunately, continues to have a shockingly high rate of infant mortality for a highly-developed country with advanced technology. Finland's infant mortality rate is very low, at 2.3 percent, while the U.S. is over 6 deaths per 1,000 live births. The U.S. has considered many factors, such as advanced maternal age, more reproductive technology, and higher rates of premature births for its high mortality rate, but the rate is simply much too high. It's definitely worth considering if a simple intervention, such as a cardboard box that doubles as a safe sleeping environment, could help in the U.S. And with the newest recommendations saying that parents should room-share, but not share a bed, with their babies, a baby box makes following the guidelines very practical.

To get the baby boxes in New Jersey, parents are required to complete an online education model that explains all of the current safe sleep recommendations. So not only are parents receiving necessary supplies that they need for free, but they are also getting vital information that they need about safe sleep habits for their little one. Over 105,000 families are expected to get boxes from the New Jersey baby box program, which is actually being funded by the CDC.

The creator of the Baby Box Co. also feels that the baby boxes are an important sign of support for new families. They are a literal and figurative way of saying, "You are not alone." And whether it's that sign of support, the education that comes along with the boxes, or some combination of both, baby boxes may just help keep more babies in the U.S safe too.

Was this page helpful?