Pro­gram to give baby boxes to new moms

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By John In­gold John In­gold: 303-954-1068, jin­gold@den­ver­post.com or twit­ter.com/johningold

New and ex­pec­tant moth­ers across Colorado will soon be el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive a gift: a card­board box that health work­ers hope will re­duce in­fant mor­tal­ity.

The box comes cour­tesy of The Baby Box Co., a for-profit maker of the kinds of boxes that moth­ers in Fin­land have re­ceived for decades. The boxes in­clude a ba­sic foam mat­tress and can serve as a safe sleep space for in­fants up to about 6 months old. A smat­ter­ing of other items — such as di­a­pers, wipes and one­sies — are also in­cluded with the boxes.

While the rea­sons be­hind in­fant mor­tal­ity are com­pli­cated, un­safe sleep en­vi­ron­ments — es­pe­cially when the mother and baby share the same bed — are one con­tribut­ing fac­tor, said Robin En­gle­berg, the pro­gram man­ager for the Denver Health Foun­da­tion, which is par­tic­i­pat­ing in the baby box cam­paign. The new pro­gram will help connect moth­ers early with ed­u­ca­tion re­sources to help them bet­ter care for their ba­bies, she said.

“The main ob­jec­tive of this whole ini­tia­tive is to teach our pa­tients safe sleep prac­tices with a new­born,” En­gle­berg said.

The cam­paign comes af­ter a try­out by Denver Pub­lic Health ear­lier this year. In the new pro­gram, The Baby Box Co. is do­nat­ing boxes to the Denver Health Foun­da­tion and the Rocky Moun­tain Chil­dren’s Health Foun­da­tion, which will help dis­trib­ute them at about 45 clin­ics and health cen­ters across the state.

New moms, ex­pec­tant moms or grand­par­ents-to-be can watch a Colorado-spe­cific video on The Baby Box Co.’s Baby Box Univer­sity web­site. Af­ter that, they will re­ceive a voucher for a free baby box, which can ei­ther be redeemed on­line or traded in at one of the des­ig­nated sites.

The pro­gram hopes to have enough boxes to pro­vide one for ev­ery new­born child in Colorado this year.

“We’re in­cred­i­bly ex­cited about this,” said Jen­nifer Clary, the CEO and co-founder of The Baby Box Co. “We’ve been work­ing a long time to bring this to fruition in Colorado.”

The Baby Box Co. has sim­i­lar mass dis­tri­bu­tion cam­paigns in four other states.

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