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Baby Boxes Will Be Given To Families In 3 States For Safe Sleep Awareness [VIDEO]

Update Date: Mar 27, 2017 08:22 AM EDT

New Jersey and Ohio have started their program to curb infant deaths. Baby boxes will be given to families with newborns in the two states, and Alabama will be next.

New Jersey intends to hand out 105,000 boxes while 140, 000 mothers will receive them in Ohio. Alabama will soon be giving away 60,000 of these.

The baby box idea was taken from Finland's success in its own effort to prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It is an effort to discourage co-sleeping with babies as this habit poses a risk for SIDS.

Finland used to have high infant mortality rates but since launching the program 80 years ago, the rates have declined and they now have the one of the lowest in the world. Finn mothers in their fourth month of pregnancy would have to have a health check before the end of their pregnancy period in order to get a free baby box under this program.

Baby boxes will be given to families in the three states to send the message of safe sleep practices for babies. Parents receive education about SIDS and safe sleep by watching a video, and they take a quiz afterward. There have been 17,000 boxes released in New Jersey since January.

A firm mattress, tight-fitting sheet, diapers, wipes, breastfeeding accessories and a onesie will be given with the boxes. The state is working with Baby Box Co. for raising awareness.

The boxes can be used until the babies are 6 months old, which is within the period when many SIDS occur. There have been some 16,000 mothers who availed of the program in Ohio, NPR reported.

Several factors could increase the risk of SIDS. It is still unclear why black, American Indian or Alaska Native infants have a higher risk of developing the syndrome and between the two sexes, boys are more likely to die of it. A history of SIDS in the family, living with a smoker and being born prematurely are associated with SIDS, according to the Mayo Clinic.

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