New Jersey to become first US state to give parents baby boxes

105,000 baby boxes are expected to be distributed throughout the year 

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Wednesday 25 January 2017 14:12
Babies are able to sleep in the boxes in their first few months
Babies are able to sleep in the boxes in their first few months

New Jersey is set to become the first US state to adopt the successful Finnish system of sending out baby boxes to new parents.

The system in Finland sees all new parents given a baby box as part of the country’s social care scheme, which requires families to attend counselling and health checks in order to receive the boxes.

Now the state of New Jersey is introducing the scheme to new parents throughout 2017 through a partnership with the Los Angeles-based Baby Box Co, and the state’s Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, PhillyMag reports. A small-scale trial was carried out last year at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Around 105,000 new baby boxes are expected to be distributed across the state throughout the year, which is in line with birth rates in the state. The boxes contain items such as baby wipes, nappies, nipple cream and a onesie, among other items.

The cardboard boxes can be used for babies to sleep in for the first months of their life and in Finland, where mothers have been receiving them for 75 years, they have been credited with helping to decrease infant mortality.

On a Facebook event page inviting new parents in New Jersey to learn about the state-wide programme, The Baby Box Co said it has developed the boxes with the Cooper University Health Care Hospital. The hospital has also helped to develop the “Baby Box University Syllabus”, which new parents are required to sign up to in order to participate in the scheme.

Baby boxes trialled in UK

Scotland introduced baby boxes for all parents on 1 January this year, in what Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said was a “symbol of a belief in a level playing field”.

A small scale scheme has also been implemented at hospitals in Essex and Birmingham, while the state of Alberta in Canada has also rolled out a pilot scheme.

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