Free Baby Boxes Offered In New Jersey To Prevent Sudden Infant Deaths

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey is getting attention for a program that is still in its infancy.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, new and expectant parents are now being offered special boxes for their new babies.

It is called a baby box, and it is as simple as that – made of durable cardboard with a firm mattress designed to promote safe sleep for infants.

Brittany DiBella is expecting to give birth any day now, and plans to use the free box provided by the state.

“It’s a foolproof system, so you don’t have to worry about going to the store trying to figure out what’s safe and what’s not,” she said.

Judy Postmus is on the state Child Fatality Review Board, which helped facilitate bringing the Baby Box program to New Jersey. She said the last stats to be reviewed in 2014 show there were 57 sudden unexplained infant deaths in New Jersey.

Nationally, there were thousands.

“Of those, roughly 80 to 85 percent of them were because of unsafe sleeping conditions, and so the intent is by having safe box, that it gives them a chance to put a baby in a safe environment to sleep, and hopefully decrease the number of those unexplained deaths.”

The program is funded by a $40,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and is available to anyone who wants a box. The Baby Box Company will fund the rest, with the goal to expand nationally.

So farm five baby box distribution centers have been set up in South Jersey, with other locations rolling out across the state within the next few months. The idea is to educate parents on safe sleeping arrangements.

People do not necessarily need to go to a distribution center. They can go to Baby Box University and take a short course, and fill out a quiz. Those who pass can have a baby box shipped right to their

Research shows that babies should sleep on their backs with no loose items in the box or crib.

The program is widely used in Europe – including Finland, where it was introduced 30 years ago, Temple University in Philadelphia also has a pilot program.

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