New Jersey First to Open Universal Baby Box Program
Lifestyle| | By Robin Milling
If boxes are meant to contain things, then why not a sleeping baby? The country of Finland recognized this logic almost 80 years ago when they introduced the baby box in 1938 to expectant mothers. A baby sleeping in a cardboard box may seem absurd to our modern day cribs – however the gift offered by the government was designed to give every Finnish baby the chance to begin their lives on the same path.
The box also kept any sleep deprived new mother happy knowing their baby was tucked away safe and sound for the night. In order to receive the maternity box, women needed to visit a doctor before their fourth month of pregnancy, which also ensured their due diligence for prenatal care.
The items that came in the box included all the essentials to a child’s life: bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, picture book and teaching toy, bathing products, socks and mittens, nappies, bedding material, and a small mattress on the bottom which became baby’s first bed.
Cut to America where two women — Jennifer Clary and Michelle Vick — founded The Baby Box Company in 2013, bringing the Finnish way of baby sleep to the states. It began as a direct-to-consumer product provider but grew into a different mission.
“We quickly saw that would never translate to the realization of our true corporate mission: to offer a safe sleep environment to babies everywhere,” Baby Box CEO & Co-Founder Jennifer Clary told Your Daily Dish.
They began the endeavor as Vick transitioned to parenthood.
“We founded the business together right after she welcomed her first child,” Clary told Your Daily Dish.
New Jersey has been the first state to recognize the benefits of this by starting a universal baby box program. The Baby Box Company partnered with the New Jersey’s CFNFRB, and on January 26 an initiative was launched where new and expectant parents can register at “Baby Box University” to receive their free box, which is currently valued at approximately $150.00.
It also requires that New Jersey recipients watch a series of videos from health professionals that educate parents on newborn care. Like school, they have to take a short quiz testing them on their grasp of the material. Once parents have completed the 10 to 15-minute educational program and passed the quiz, they are officially eligible to receive the free baby box.
All boxes include a firm mattress and fitted sheet inside with diapers, clothes, baby wipes, breast pads and more. The baby box program seems to be satisfying mothers.
Hospitals and OB-GYNs across New Jersey are on board and some medical centers like Cooper University Hospital have pledged to distribute baby boxes on site. The Baby Box Company expects to distribute about 105,000 boxes to families statewide in 2017.
“Our team is actively engaged with health departments and medical professionals in most states at this juncture and will begin making Baby Boxes more accessible to USA families this year,”Clary told Your Daily Dish. “I’m grateful for the amazing group of people with whom I work and the partnerships we’ve collectively forged to make the Baby Box University safe sleep initiative more widely available.”
Other states are encouraged to join the universal baby box program to introduce parents to a whole new world for their baby’s healthy sleep.