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SSM Health Medical Minute: Local experts recommend against use of baby boxes

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - The Baby Box program has helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.

The initiative, which enables every expecting woman in the country to claim a free Baby Box once she receives prenatal care and parenting information from a healthcare professional, is credited with helping to decrease Finland’s infant mortality rate. In January of this year, it was announced that New Jersey has become the first state in the US to offer baby boxes, which are made out of durable cardboard and can be used as a bed for the baby’s first months of life. The goal to cut down on SIDS, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Experts at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital do NOT recommend the baby boxes. Stating the idea for the boxes came from Finland, but noting that there has never been any peer-reviewed research done on whether they are safe or effective. Yes, Finland had a decrease in infant mortality since the initiation of the baby boxes, but so did the US, so this is NOT good proof that the boxes are safe.

Cardinal Glennon suggests the use of a laundry basket as an “EMERGENCY-ONLY” safe sleep environment instead of the baby box and ensure the mother is enrolled in the NEXT available safe sleep classes, provided by any of our partners where they will receive a pack n play, fitting crib sheet and a sleep sack.

Visit SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital online to learn more about baby safety policies.