Baby Boxes Help Keep Newborns Safe at Home
By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Jun 03, 2016
New mothers whose children are born at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and who are discharged from the hospital will now be going home with the well-wishes of the hospital staff – and a “baby box.” According to a Philly.com story, the “baby box” is a sturdy cardboard box in which the infant can sleep. At Temple University Hospital, charitable individuals and businesses have also donated time and resources to stock these boxes with other necessities for newborns and their parents, including baby caps, safety education information, nose suction devices, and sleepers.
A Gift With a Purpose – and a History
The heavy-duty cardboard baby boxes may seem like an odd parting gift for new mothers departing the hospital, but it is a gift designed to reduce infant mortality connected with “co-sleeping,” the practice of having the newborn share a bed with his or her parents. The “baby box” idea grew out of the efforts of the Finnish government in the 1930s to reduce that country’s infant mortality rate. In Finland, new parents are offered either a baby box or money, but most parents opt for the box.
Philadelphia’s Cribs for Kids program had been distributing portable cribs to families with newborns, but the need was far greater than the charity could meet. Baby boxes are seen as an economical yet effective solution to address the problems created by co-sleeping. The baby box can be placed near the newborn’s parent’s bed and are small enough to enable parents to carry the child around the house inside the baby box.
Co-Sleeping and Its Dangers
Co-sleeping is the practice of having a newborn infant share a bed with his or her parents. While some parents engage in this practice by choice (their own parents practiced co-sleeping, for example), other parents have the newborn share their bed because they are unable to afford a separate crib or sleeping area. Unfortunately, some of the items that make a bed so comfortable for adults – soft mattresses and pillows and fluffy, comfortable blankets and quilts – make adult beds hazardous for young children. Not only this, but there is always a risk that one parent or the other can injure – or even kill – the newborn by accidentally rolling over on top of the newborn. How widespread are infant deaths caused by co-sleeping? A 2014 report discussed by Today Health and Wellness examined infant mortality statistics from nearly 25 states. The report found that co-sleeping or bed-sharing was present in almost three-fourths of all cases of infant mortality in children younger than four months.
Mothers discharged from Temple University Hospital with a baby box receive educational information designed to alert them to the dangers of co-sleeping.
Contact Us for Assistance
If you or your newborn suffered an injury during delivery or afterward while in the hospital, the Philadelphia law firm of Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C. wants to help you. Contact us by telephone or online to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.