Having a new baby in the house may be one of the most challenging times an adult will ever experience. With a tiny little creature that does nothing but eat, sleep, poop, and cry, it can be hard to adjust to life as a parent. Never mind the sheer amount of “stuff” that babies need. They need bottles (if mom isn’t breastfeeding, or will be pumping), diapers, clothes, and, most importantly, a place to sleep safely. SUIDS, or Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome, is a leading cause of death for children under the age of 6. Doctors believe that putting baby to sleep in his or her own crib, without any blankets, bumpers, or toys, situated on his or her back, is the safest way to sleep. But not all parents have a crib ready when baby comes home from the hospital. That’s where the baby box comes in.
Temple University Hospital (TUH) is sending all new parents home with a “baby box,” a durable cardboard bassinet with a fitted mattress that also comes equipped with clothes, diapers, and educational materials for parents. The baby box is good for the first 5-6 months of an infant’s life, or until the baby hits 15lbs. For parents lacking the resources (or space) to put a traditional crib or bassinet, the baby box could literally be a life-saver.
The idea for TUH’s baby boxes came from Finland, where the Finnish government gives all new mothers either a baby box meant for sleeping and filled with essentials, or $150 to go towards baby supplies. Putting one’s infant in the baby box is considered something of a rite of passage for Finnish parents, and Temple thought that American parents could benefit from the concept as well.
Brianna Devero, aged 21, was the first recipient of the baby box at TUH. Her son, Steven Anthony Tonzelli Jr., came two weeks early and Devero hadn’t yet had the chance to set up her playpen/bassinet yet. She was discharged from the hospital at 8 p.m., said Devero, and “nobody feels like putting anything together late at night after being in the hospital.” The baby box was the perfect solution.
Given the fact that Philadelphia’s infant mortality rate is almost twice the national level, any solution that results in healthier babies is a good one, Dr. Megan Heere, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, told FoxNews.com. Temple is addressing the high infant mortality rate in Philadelphia with its Sleep Awareness Family Education at Temple, or SAFE-T, program.