Alabama Encourages Safe Sleeping Habits For Parents With Newborn Babies By Giving Baby Boxes

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald March 27, 11:13 am

Months after the first states in the United States adopted the practice of Finland, wherein the government distributes baby boxes to new parents, another state in the country did the same. Alabama decided to give free baby boxes to promote safe sleeping habits to protect the newborn babies from dying.

The first two states that adopted the practice are New Jersey and Ohio. Many stores sell baby boxes that double as bassinets but Alabama, New Jersey and Ohio give it away for free, as per Nola shared.

Baby boxes come with a foam mattress, a sheet, breastfeeding accessories, diapers, wipes and a onesie. It does not have pillows or stuff toys in order to prevent the baby from reaching for it and accidentally suffocating him or herself. Onesies are also essential because it is recommended by experts since it does not have anything that could harm the infant.

Many mothers do not afford cribs or bassinets so they resort to bed-sharing with their newborns. This is one of the leading cause of deaths of infants.

In order to get hold of a baby box, expecting parents have to watch online videos about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and safe sleep. They will also take a short quiz after. Parents could pick up the baby box or the government can mail it to them, NPR reported.

New Jersey hopes to distribute 105,000 baby boxes while Ohio wants to distribute around 140,000. For Alabama, their target as of now is to distribute 60,000.

A California-based company called Baby Box Co. will provide the boxes and will help in producing the educational videos. Baby Box Co. will also partner with New Jersey's Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board to disseminate information about the issue.

Dr. Kathryn McCans, the chair of New Jersey's Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, says they believe the program will help people make better choices. Therefore, if parents make better choices, fewer deaths in children are expected.

Annually, 3,500 children die from sudden deaths and it decreased in 1994 after the launch of Back to Sleep campaign. The campaign urges parents to put their babies to sleep on their back. In recent years, however, the number of infant deaths increased again.

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