New Jersey has become the first state where expectant parents can get a free "Baby Box" for their newborn.
The Baby Box Co. announced the Baby Box University program on Thursday. The global integrated program looks to reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS) and provide a safe start for newborns in the state by providing their parents with potentially life-saving boxes.
The boxes, which are made from a durable cardboard, can be used as a baby's bed for the first months of life. Inside, the box contains diapers, wipes, and other goodies that are worth about $150.
Expectant parents in New Jersey just need to complete a short parenting education course online to get their free baby box.
The New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board (CFNFRB) is supporting the program using a grant from the CDC, which reviews fatalities and near-fatalities of children in order to identify their causes, relationship to governmental support systems, and methods of prevention.
The program will distribute approximately 105,000 Baby Boxes in 2017, according to Baby Box Co.
The use of baby boxes has been credited with helping Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.
"I'm grateful to the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board for their efforts to promote infant safe sleep," said Commissioner Allison Blake of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. "Through greater awareness and education, and by working together, we can make sleep time safe time for babies."
"Every year we review instances in which infants die suddenly and unexpectedly," said CFNFRB chair Kathryn McCans.
"In a significant proportion of these deaths, an unsafe sleep circumstance is a contributing factor. Baby Box University will help families make safe and healthy choices for their children by educating them about simple changes that will decrease the risk that a death will occur due to an unsafe sleep environment or SIDS."
The use of Baby Boxes has been credited with helping Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates. The initiative is credited with helping to decrease Finland's infant mortality rate from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to 1.3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013, according to the World Health Organization.
Parents can pick up their baby boxes at Cooper University Healthcare, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative and other locations. They can also have them delivered to their home.
Here’s how New Jersey parents can get a free baby box:
1. Register for free online at babyboxuniversity.com as a New Jersey resident. Be sure to include your correct contact information, including mailing address.
2. Watch the 10-15 minute New Jersey syllabus at babyboxuniversity.com. After taking a short quiz, you will receive a certificate of completion and be able to select local pick-up or direct delivery of your Baby Box.
3. If you select direct delivery, your Baby Box will ship to the address you provided when you registered on Baby Box University. If you select local pick up, bring your Baby Box University certificate to the closest participating distribution partner to collect your Baby Box.