When Dr. Megan Heere began to advise new mothers to put their babies in cardboard boxes, she had no idea how the already apprehensive mothers would react. The idea may seem peculiar to most mothers in the United States, but the practice has existed in Finland for decades. Now, Temple University Hospital has just begun the initiative to provide mothers with these “baby boxes.” While each box costs around $100 to make, they are given to the new moms free of charge. The reason? To reduce infant mortality rates.
Suffocation is the leading cause of death among infants, but with a little help and education, it can be easily prevented by parents. Many parents believe it’s best if their newborn sleeps in bed with them or on a soft mattress. While they are well-meaning of course, these sleeping arrangements can lead to suffocation and death. The baby box is an ideal sleeping environment for the infant. Doctors recommend babies sleeping on a firm surface, flat on their backs, and in the same room as the parents but not the same bed — the baby boxes achieve all of this easily. Thus, the simple box can prevent Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID).
For the mothers who appear in the video, the baby box is a blessing. Not only does the box contain diapers, educational materials, clothes, bottles, and just about everything else a new mother needs, it is incredibly convenient. Two of the mothers went into labor weeks early and didn’t have their cribs or nurseries set up. With the boxes on hand, the newborns made an easy transition from hospital to home.
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