There’s exciting news for expecting families in Alabama this week — on Wednesday the state will begin to give new parents a box full of baby goods for free aimed to help improve family health care outcomes and reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS).
In 2017, the Baby Box Program — a partnership between the Baby Box Company and the Alabama Rural Development Office — will distribute up to 60,000 Baby Boxes. The boxes, which retail for about $70 to $225 and double as safe sleeping safe for babies,contains a firm mattress and fitted sheet as well as breast-feeding accessories, onesie, diapers and wipes. They can hold a baby up to six months of age. The program follows the lead of Ohio and New Jersey, where similar programs already exist.
“We are excited to be one of the first states to offer this program statewide to provide families with the tools and education to give their babies a healthy start in life,” said Ron Sparks, Director of Alabama Rural Development Office, in a press release. “The ultimate goal of the program is to save babies’ lives.”
The program is modeled modeled after a similar program in Finland, where hospitals have handed out the boxes to soon-to-be moms for the last 75 years. Finland now has one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.
In Finland, 2.04 out of 1,000 children died during infancy in 2015, compared to 8.3 in Alabama.
All expecting and new mothers who complete Baby Box University’s online education program in Alabama are eligible to receive a free baby box, regardless of socioeconomic background.