Are Cardboard Baby Boxes As Safe As We Think?
Cardboard baby boxes have been praised as one of the safest things that new mothers can use as an alternative to bed-sharing, and their use is often advocated as a way to prevent against SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). While the boxes have been used for decades in Finland, where they gained popularity amongst public health groups in the U.S., leading many hospitals to begin giving out the boxes for free, but they may not be as safe as everyone thinks.
Are Baby Boxes Unsafe?
A recent article published in The New York Times quotes Dr. Rachel Moon, the chairwoman of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ task force on SIDS. Moon told reporters that she is “very surprised” by the enthusiasm for the baby boxes, continuing to say that she believes consumers are just assuming the boxes to be safe based on Finland’s success (Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, and less than one-third the infant mortality rate in the United States).
That being said, the boxes–which are small, cardboard boxes complete with a snug-fitting mattress, and which are being given away by the thousands in hospitals across the U.S.–have not been tested in order to determine whether they meet safety standards that are required for other infant sleep products. Further, the boxes have yet to be approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Without regulations, a number of questions are unanswered, such as whether or not the boxes will deteriorate over time, if they are safe to use with multiple babies (not at once), and how durable the boxes are.
But What About Finland?
Despite the fact that the baby boxes may be unregulated in the U.S., many people are asking why Finland can’t be used as an example of the boxes’ success. A senior researcher at a Finnish company that designs and develops the baby boxes, Dr. Anita Haataja, told Times’ reporters that the box is just one aspect of preventing infant death; mothers in the country receive a variety of healthcare benefits. Dr. Haataja said that she believes that the infant mortality rate in her country is low because of “free of charge high-quality maternal and child health care services…”
What’s more, many Finnish families do not even use the boxes, with statistics showing that only 37 percent of families use the boxes as babies’ sleeping places.
Should I Use a Baby Box?
If you are an expecting or a new parent, whether or not you should use a baby box is a person decision that you should research and discuss with your doctor. The more informed you are, the safe choice you can make for your family.
At the law offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., we believe that new mothers and their children deserve the highest quality care possible. When medical malpractice leads to harm, our lawyers are here to represent you. Contact us for your free consultation to learn more.