New Jersey gives out free baby boxes in move to lower infant mortality rates

Baby Boxes, made of durable cardboard, can be used as a baby's bed for the first five to six months of life.

Story highlights

  • New Jersey will give baby boxes to new parents
  • The box is filled with baby essentials and serves as a safe sleeping space

(CNN)Babies born in New Jersey this year will go home with a sturdy, safe box to sleep in and additional newborn essentials -- all for free. On Thursday, the Garden State became the first in the US to launch a universal baby box program in an attempt to reduce infant mortality rates.

The baby box program follows the example of Finland, which has had a similar program in place since the 1930s. Any expecting parent or parents of infants younger than 3 months old in New Jersey can take a short online educational program and receive a box filled with newborn essentials that can also serve as a safe sleeping space.
    The Baby Box Co., a California-based company, paired up with New Jersey's Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board on a grant from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention in order to reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death and improve family health care.
    According to the company, the program will continue beyond 2017 based on its success, measured by parents' use of the boxes and improvements tracked in the state's health outcomes.
    The cardboard boxes, distributed at Cooper University Healthcare and Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, come with a firm mattress, a waterproof cover and a fitted sheet, in addition to diapers, wipes, breast cream, b