The Baby Box Co., the company behind the global integrated program Baby Box University to improve family health-care outcomes and reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS), today announced that Ohio is the second U.S. state to launch a universal program where all expecting and new parents can receive a free Baby Box by completing online parenting education.
Ohio’s infant mortality rates are among the most alarming in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control 2014 data, the infant mortality rate in Ohio is 6.3, signifying that 6 infant deaths occur per 1,000 live births before their first birthday, among Caucasian babies — and the infant mortality rate jumps to 12.9 for African American babies. This translates to an overall rate of 7.1 infant deaths in Ohio compared to a national rate of 6.0 infant deaths, ranking Ohio 44 out of 50 states for infant mortality.
To combat this, the statewide Ohio Baby Box program is being launched in partnership with the Cincinnati Health Department, Richland Public Health, University Hospitals (UH) MacDonald Women’s and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospitals, Muskingum Valley Health Centers, and Babies Need Boxes among other community health organizations. In 2017, the Ohio program will distribute up to approximately 140,000 Baby Boxes annually, ensuring that every expecting family in Ohio has access to this free resource regardless of socioeconomic background.
“Research tells us that two of the biggest contributors to sudden, unexplained infant death are premature birth and unsafe sleep arrangements,” says Margaret Larkins-Pettigrew, MD, UH Clinical Diversity Officer and Associate Professor, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. “This phenomenal safe sleep space program for newborns will help hospitals and nonprofits provide optimal, safe care to all expecting families in Ohio. We are grateful that The Baby Box Co. and Babies Need Boxes Ohio share in our mission to improve outcomes for mothers and their babies and to help solve the infant mortality crisis.”
The Baby Boxes, which are made from a durable cardboard, can be used as a baby’s bed for the first months of life. While parents appreciate the Baby Boxes and quality care products included, it is the educational component and closer communication with local healthcare providers that is at the center of the Baby Box University distribution model. Families will be required to view their community’s online curriculum related to prenatal health, breastfeeding, safe sleep practices and newborn care before receiving a free Baby Box. In this way, the Baby Box University program model pays its ultimate homage to the Finnish tradition, which is committed not just to universal product distribution, but to supporting families with access to healthcare and education.
“Richland Public Health supports this collaborative approach to educate families and safeguard the health and well-being of our babies,” said Richland Public Health Commissioner, Martin Tremmel. “The Baby Box Co. recognizes that a safe sleep environment coupled with parenting education is vital to provide to all families.”
How Ohio New Parents Can Get Their Free Baby Box
It takes only 3 easy steps for Ohio’s expecting and new parents to get their free Baby Box:
“I’m so proud to empower new parents in Ohio with the physical and educational resources they need to feel confident,” said Jennifer Clary, the CEO of The Baby Box Co., which is supplying Ohio with the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships. ”Every parent has a right to the necessary tools to care for their infant and every child deserves a safe and supported start in life.”
The brands included in the Baby Boxes are also committed to the program’s education mission, with every product featuring a scientifically proven baby brain-boosting activity parents can do while using the item.
“We are proud to be part of the Baby Box programs, especially here in Ohio – Pampers’ home state,” said E. Yuri Hermida, vice president, North America Baby Care, P&G. “As a brand dedicated to the happy, healthy development of babies for more than 50 years, we share Baby Box Co.’s important mission to support expecting parents with health education, and support new babies with a safe sleep environment.”
All expecting parents living in Ohio are eligible to receive a Baby Box which includes newborn essentials such as Pampers Swaddlers diapers, Pampers baby wipes, Vroom activity cards from the Bezos Family Foundation, Lansinoh breast pads and nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers, onesie, and more.
The Baby Box Movement
The use of Baby Boxes has been credited with helping 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 from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to 1.3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013, according to the World Health Organization.
The success of the Finnish Baby Box intervention inspired the founders of The Baby Box Co. to adapt this tradition with enhanced multimedia parenting curricula through Baby Box University to the benefit of nonprofits, hospitals, government institutions and individual families worldwide. The Baby Box University program’s exponential growth has solidified the model as an impactful safe sleep and parenting education intervention for millennials.
Photo: Creative Commons License