Demand for baby boxes is rising in America. States like New Jersey, Alabama and Ohio are giving away free cardboard boxes to parents of newborns. It is believed that this measure helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Doctors in Cincinnati, however, are holding off enthusiasm for baby boxes, whose origin comes from Finland. Dr. James Greenberg of the city's Children's Hospital believes there are other factors in curbing sleep-related deaths and baby boxes alone won't deter SIDS.
"The association between the box and infant mortality reduction isn't clear to us," Greenberg said, as per WCPO. "The more logical explanation for the low infant mortality rate in Finland is the low pre-term birth rate," the doctor said, adding the emphasis shouldn't be in the baby boxes but in sleep safety practices.
Low-income parents or caregivers who pass the sleep safety requirements in Cincinnati can receive actual cribs and not baby boxes for free from the Cribs for Kids program. Greenberg, however, cites box companies cashing in on these baby boxes are doing something good yet he wants more scientific researches to back up its effective use. There are also no studies pointing out how many of Finland's parents actually use the baby boxes since its introduction 70 years ago.
Dr. Kathryn McCans of the Cooper University Health Care in New Jersey agrees cardboard boxes per se are "not safer than a crib," in her interview with Boise State Public Radio. The doctor, however, supports New Jersey's baby box program, which launched in January, as it provides parents' education on sleep safety.
New Jersey requires parents to undergo a short sleep safety course online before they claim the baby boxes. The program follows the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics on SIDS prevention.
Have you tried or know someone who used baby boxes? Did you undergo sleep safety lessons too? Share your experience in the comments below!