Source: NJ.com Healthfit
In 2014, 57 babies died in in their sleep, according to state data. Nearly all of these young lives could have been saved had the baby been sleeping properly – alone in a crib, on his or her back, without blankets, bumpers or fluffy toys, experts say.
Beginning this year, New Jersey mothers and their newborns will have a unique tool to prevent a tragedy.
The New Jersey Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, which reviews these deaths every year, has announced a partnership with a nonprofit group that produces “baby boxes” – bassinet-sized laminated cardboard boxes outfitted with a mattress and a fitted sheet. Parents must agree to watch a video and read other literature explaining the importance of safe sleep practices.
New Jersey is the first state to make 105,000 boxes available to all mothers free of charge who deliver a child, according to a statement from the Baby Box, Co. and the child fatality board.
The first boxes are being distributed through Cooper University Hospital in Camden and through some south Jersey nonprofit agencies. Other distribution sites will be announced soon. Parents may also obtain their own free box by enrolling at babyboxuniversity.com and follow the directions.
“I’m so proud to share the Baby Box University program with expecting and new parents in New Jersey,” said Jennifer Clary, the CEO of The Baby Box Co., which is supplying New Jersey with the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships.
“Every parent has a right to the necessary tools to care for their infant and every child deserves a safe and supported start in life,” Clary said. “New Jersey officials and health professionals have come together in a collaboration which embodies this truth, ensuring that basic child-care resources and education are universally accessible to families statewide.”
Baby box distributors are temporarily limited to the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperatives in Pennsauken, (856) 665-6000; Camden, (856) 963-1013; Atlantic City, (609) 345-6420. More locations throughout the state will be announced.
According to the child fatality board’s most recent report, the deaths of 57 babies died in 2014 could be attributed to unsafe sleep practices. Of these children, 33 were sharing a bed, couch, car seat or some other sleep surface with another person, according to the report.
“As the chair of the New Jersey Child Fatality Near Fatality Review Board, every year we review instances in which infants die suddenly and unexpectedly,” said Kathryn McCans, who works as an emergency department physician at Cooper University Health Care. “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 (sudden infant death syndrome,” McCans said.