baby box program The Nurturing Root

Ohio Offers Free Baby Boxes To New Parents

Ohio is now offering new parents a free Baby Box filled with essential newborn items. Learn about this awesome universal initiative and find out how to get your Baby Box!

The Baby Box Company is working with hospitals, community health organizations, and the non-profit Babies Need Boxes Ohio to give away cardboard box beds, for every newborn in the state this year, in an effort to reduce high infant-mortality rates.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has reported a decline in sudden unexplained infant deaths since the mid-1990’s, after introducing the ‘back to sleep’ campaign. Health officials began telling parents to place babies on their backs to sleep in an effort to reduce infant death rates. Though this campaign was quite successful, thousands of babies still die every year from from preventable sleep related deaths. Ohio has one of the highest infant mortality rate in the country, and the number of babies dying from sleep-related causes has actually increased in recent years. It is, largely in part, due to these statistics that The Baby Box Company brought this program to Ohio.

The Baby Box program may be a new idea to Ohio families, but is actually a 75 year old Finnish tradition. During the 1930s, Finland had very high infant mortality rates. In an aggressive effort to lower these deaths, Finland introduced a universal maternity care package in 1938. The initiative entitles every expectant woman in the country to a free Baby Box once she receives prenatal care and parenting information from  healthcare professionals. This effort is credited with radically decreasing the country’s infant mortality rate from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to 3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013. Finland now boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

Ohio is now the second State to offer this program to all new and expectant parents. New Jersey launched the inaugural Baby Box program in January 2017.

Supporters of this effort say the box-beds can be used during an infant’s first months to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths. The Baby Box Company and its affiliates want to distribute as many as 140,000 boxes this year, which is about the number of annual births in Ohio. “We don’t really think that this in itself is going to stop infant sleep-related deaths, but it’s a way for us to give parents the education and tools to make that less likely, [and to] help them succeed,” said Celina Cunanan, Director of Midwifery Services for University Hospitals in Cleveland. The universal approach of this program will help all babies have equal access to a safe sleep space and essential items.

To get your baby box, register with Baby Box University, select the ‘Ohio Syllabus’ and complete the watchlist with quiz.  The videos discuss various topics, including: prenatal health, safe-sleep practices, breastfeeding, child-spacing, and perinatal mental health. Once complete, you can print your certificate and pick-up a baby box at participating locations, or have it mailed to your home.

The Nurturing Root is very excited about the Baby Box program. We are committed to helping expectant and new families with evidence-based information, education, and community resources. Please feel free to contact us to learn more about Northeast Ohio Baby Box pick-up locations.