Each year, approximately 3,500 children under the age of one die from Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID) in the United States. Though many cases have no obvious cause, accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed accounted for 25 percent of cases in 2014.
Now a new program in New Jersey—the first of its kind in the United States—aims to improve that number. The New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, a group of experts that reviews fatalities and near fatalities of children in order to identify their causes and recommend preventive measures, has announced a partnership with The Baby Box Co.
The Los Angeles-based nonprofit manufactures small, bassinet-sized laminated cardboard boxes complete with a firm mattress and a fitted sheet to create a safe sleeping environment for babies. Originally a Finnish tradition, the cardboard boxes have been proven to be highly effective for reducing SUIDs—Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
The New Jersey grant will provide more than 100,000 free boxes and supplies (each box will also come with diapers, baby wipes, breast pads, nipple cream, educational materials, and more) worth approximately $150 to qualifying parents. The boxes can be used until children are about six months old, or can pull themselves up. To find out if you qualify, click here.
Though more pilot programs will launch in other areas of the country later this year—San Francisco and New Hampshire, specifically—new parents can purchase a basic baby box for about $70. This particular box includes bedding, a tote bag, educational materials, and a gift card toward a future baby box. The most expensive baby box retails for $225, and also includes a toy, clothing, an educational book, a pack of diapers, and health materials like a thermometer.