Home / Health / ‘Baby box’ coming to NY, could help reduce infant mortality

‘Baby box’ coming to NY, could help reduce infant mortality

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, February 14, 2016, 7:01 PM

Baby boxes have been used in Finland to reduce the infant mortality rate.The Baby Box Company/The Baby Box Company

Baby boxes have been used in Finland to reduce the infant mortality rate.

The baby box is coming to New York.

Since 1938 newborn babies in Finland have been sleeping in cardboard boxes supplied by the government. The Finnish tradition has drastically lowered the infant mortality rate, records show.

Now, a California-based company handed out 100 free baby boxes to parents at Bellevue Hospital Center and New York Presbyterian on Valentine’s Day.

The giveaway is part of a pilot program the company’s founder hopes will lead to an expanded distribution of the boxes lined with a mattress.

“This can help reduce infant mortality in the city,” said Jennifer Clary, CEO and founder of The Baby Box Co.

In New York, the city’s infant mortality rate dropped to an all-time low in 2013, falling to 4.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, the Health Department announced in January 2015.

The rate has shrunk by nearly a quarter from 2004 levels.

Still, by contrast, the rate in Finland was 3.36 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2014.

Also, the New York infant mortality rate was nearly twice as high in poor neighborhoods compared to more affluent areas, and black babies were between two and three times likelier to die than white tykes.

“A lot of that is because we don’t do enough educating our parents,” Clary said.

In response, in April 2015 the city launched a Safe Sleep campaign spearheaded by the Administration for Children’s Services to educate parents about the hazards of sleeping with their newborns.

The baby box idea has caught fire in other countries like South Africa, Zambia, Colombia and Argentina.

The newborns sleep in the boxes for their first three to four months or until they can pull themselves up.

The small box is especially convenient for New Yorkers living in small apartments where space is at a premium, Clary said.

The baby boxes really well because they are so easy to use and reduce co-sleeping incidents,” she said.

In Finland, the boxes include other supplies for the baby like snowsuits, hats and diapers.

rblau@nydailynews.com

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