Giving new parents boxes that double as baby beds has become somewhat of a “thing” lately. But is it safe to put your baby to sleep in a cardboard box?
A recent New York Times article suggests parents should be cautious about jumping on the “baby box” bandwagon. Chairwomen for both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the federal government’s Consumer Product Safety Commission pointed out that the boxes – which come with a fitted mattress – haven’t been independently tested for safety. There’s also no proof they reduce sleep-related infant deaths, the rationale behind programs that offer the boxes to parents.
Some hospitals and states including New Jersey, Ohio, Alabama and Texas, have started or plan to start giving baby boxes to new parents for free. The effort is inspired by a government program in Finland, where expectant moms receive similar boxes filled with baby supplies.
The infant mortality rate in Finland is much lower than in the United State: less than 2 out of every 1,000 babies under 1 year old die in Finland, compared with almost 6 babies out of every 1,000 in the United States.
But a Finnish researcher told the New York Times there’s no evidence that’s because of baby boxes. In fact, many parents in Finland don’t even use the boxes. Instead, the low infant mortality rate is more likely due to the high standard of maternal health care in that country, the researcher said.