A baby in this box sleeps safely
They come in adorable prints like classy owls, happy hedgehogs or lovable lions, but the infant beds created by The Baby Box Company are meant to be more than simply charming. They are designed to save lives by providing a safe, clutter-free place for newborns to sleep.
Now all parents of babies born on Cape Cod can get a baby box of their own, free of charge. The initiative started after Robin Hayward, director of A Baby Center in Hyannis read an article about how baby boxes were being credited for giving Finland the lowest rate of infant mortality in the world.
“I’m always searching for ways to do things that help support families, especially in health, education and resources,” she said. “This does all three.”
Since 1949, all parents in Finland have been offered a choice between a baby box for safe newborn sleeping or a check for 140 euros. Most parents choose the box. Baby boxes along with parent education are considered to be the reason that Finland has such a low rate of infant mortality, at 2.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control.
The same report showed infant mortality in the Unites States is 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live births, a rate that is two and a half times higher than Finland’s. This is despite the fact that the 1994 introduction of the Back-to-Sleep campaign decreased the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome by 50 percent, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
100 Boxes A Month
When Hayward contacted Michelle Vick, co-founder of A Baby Box Company, she learned that they would give her up to 100 baby boxes a month for free as part of the philanthropic wing of their company. Hayward then contacted Rosanna Burke, supervisor and educator of women and children’s services at Cape Cod Hospital, and Michele Kaiser, director of maternity at Falmouth Hospital to see if Cape Cod Healthcare was interested in becoming partners.
“When Robin from A Baby Center reached out to us, it seemed like a great idea, especially for people who did not have a bassinette already,” Burke said. “It discourages co-sleeping, which can cause suffocation and it decreases the risk factors for SIDS, so it’s a great opportunity for everyone.”
The boxes themselves are not magic cure-alls. They consist of a sturdy box, covered with a cute printed material. Inside the box there is a snug-fitting mattress, a waterproof mattress cover, and a sheet. The boxes come with covers to keep pets out, but the covers should never be used when the baby is inside the box. Babies can sleep in the box until they are four to six months of age, depending on how quickly they grow.
Even more important than the box itself is the education that comes along with it, provided by Baby Box University. Anyone caring for a newborn or young infant, including grandparents and foster parents, can get a box for free but they have to watch about 15 minutes of short educational videos to do so.
“The videos are one-and-a-half to two-and-half minutes long, so they give you the optimal amount of information in a very short amount of time,” Hayward said. “It’s about promoting healthy babies, promoting healthy sleep, and parent education for crucial information that they need to make sure the baby stays healthy during those very vulnerable first few months.”