According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4,500 infants die each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in the US. Although this number has decreased by 50% since the 1990’s, one death is too many. While the numbers for Caucasian infants have decreased, the numbers for non-Hispanic black and American Indian Alaska Native infants remain disproportionately higher than the rest of the population. Could a simple box be the answer to continuing to lowering the number of SIDS deaths?
Although this may sound strange, a report from the Health Hub, states that Finnish babies have been placed in boxes since the start of a program in 1939 when 69 of every 1000 babies were dying from SIDS. The program was originally started to help the lower income but in 1949 the offer was extended to every mother. Today 95% of new mothers receive boxes. Finland now has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.
According to Heidi Liesivesi, from Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, a grant or maternity box is offered to all mothers with a stipulation that require a visit to a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before the fourth month of pregnancy.
The program started as a way to protect babies by getting them out of the bed with their parents. Today many mothers look forward to the gift box. The boxes included nappies, a sleeping bag, bra pads, toys, and doubled as a bed with a mattress in the bottom. Once all of the contents are removed from the box, it offers a safe environment for a baby to sleep. According to the report on Heath Hub, the infant rate in Finland is now 3.38 per 1000 babies.
SIDs is the number one cause of death in infants aged 1- 12 months in the US. Studies today show that it is dangerous for infants to sleep in the bed with their parents because of the risk of suffocation. Consequently every parent cannot afford the separate crib but maybe a simple box with a mattress could save a baby’s life
This article appeared strange to me, just as it may sound to you, but when I considered a simple box in exchange for the life of a child, I thought maybe there is something to what the Finnish are doing with these boxes. While a box may not be the luxurious item on the list of gifts it may very well be one of the safest.
By: Veverly Edwards