The Family and Children’s Center in South Bend is promoting the use of baby boxes in St. Joseph County in an effort to help reduce infant mortality rates. Baby boxes are cardboard boxes that come with a sleeping pad and provide a safe sleep option for newborns up to six months.
Family and Children’s Center director of development Adria Minnear said it's sometimes difficult for families to afford cribs or other sleep accommodations for infants, and this could some times result in sleep-related deaths for newborns.
“It really dives deeper into what safe sleep looks like,” Minnear said, “not necessarily sharing a bed with the child, but really more focused on them having a safe space to sleep.”
Minnear said the program is open to everyone through the Family and Children’s Center in South Bend. In order to receive a box, participants must first watch an online video that gives parents general information on caring for newborns, more specifically, safe sleep habits.
The idea of the baby box in South Bend came from a global initiative with the Baby Box Company, in Los Angeles, who partners with hospitals and other community organizations to improve maternal and infant healthcare worldwide.
Minnear said she thinks the program, and baby boxes, have the potential to become a norm in South Bend, and hopes hospitals will also start offering the boxes in delivery rooms.