The Baby Box Co., the company behind the global integrated program Baby Box University to improve family health-care outcomes and reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS), today announced that New Jersey has become the first state where all expecting and new parents can receive a free Baby Box by completing online parenting education. The Baby Boxes, which are made from a durable cardboard, can be used as a baby's bed for the first months of life. In 2017, the program will distribute approximately 105,000 Baby Boxes, ensuring that every expecting family in New Jersey has access to this free resource regardless of socioeconomic background.

In 2016, an estimated 93% of infant fatalities associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS) were directly related to sleep and sleep environments, according to a report by the Child Fatality & Near Fatality Review Board (CFNFRB). The Baby Box program is a project of New Jersey's CFNFRB utilizing a grant from the CDC (Center for Disease Control), which reviews fatalities and near fatalities of children in order to identify their causes, relationship to governmental support systems, and methods of prevention. Distribution partners where families can get their Baby Boxes include Cooper University Healthcare and Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative among others. Parents can also choose to have their Baby Box delivered to their home.

"I'm grateful to the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board for their efforts to promote infant safe sleep," said Commissioner Blake of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families. "Through greater awareness and education, and by working together, we can make sleep time safe time for babies."

How New Jersey New Parents Can Get Their Free Baby Box

Here are the 3 easy steps for New Jersey's expecting and new parents to get their free Baby Box:

1. Register for free online at babyboxuniversity.com as a New Jersey resident. Be sure to include your correct contact information, including mailing address.

2. Watch the 10-15 minute New Jersey syllabus at babyboxuniversity.com. After taking a short quiz, you will receive a certificate of completion and be able to select local pick-up or direct delivery of your Baby Box.

3. If you select direct delivery, your Baby Box will ship to the address you provided when you registered on Baby Box University. If you select local pick up, bring your Baby Box University certificate to the closest participating distribution partner to collect your Baby Box.

While parents appreciate the Baby Boxes and quality care products included, it is the educational component and closer communication with local healthcare providers that is at the center of the Baby Box University distribution model. Families will be required to view their community's online curriculum related to prenatal health, breastfeeding, safe sleep practices and newborn care before receiving a free Baby Box. In this way, the Baby Box University program model pays its ultimate homage to the Finnish tradition, which is committed not just to universal product distribution, but to supporting families with access to healthcare and education.

Judy Donlen, RN, DNSc, JD, Executive Director of the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative said "The Baby Box initiative is a promising addition in ongoing efforts to reduce the tragedy of SIDS. We are especially excited about the benefits for new parents provided through Baby Box University, an innovative, electronic gateway to resources and information."

All expecting parents living in New Jersey are eligible to receive a Baby Box which includes newborn essentials such as Pampers Swaddlers diapers, Pampers baby wipes, Vroom activity cards from the Bezos Family Foundation, Lansinoh breast pads and nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers, onesie, and more.

The Baby Box Movement

According to a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which draws on current research and serves as the first update to the Academy policy since 2011, approximately 3,500 infants die annually in the United States from sleep-related deaths, including sudden unexpected infant death (SUID); ill-defined deaths; and accidental suffocation and strangulation. The number of infant deaths initially decreased in the 1990s after a national safe sleep campaign, but has plateaued in recent years. The use of Baby Boxes has been credited with helping Finland achieve one of the world's lowest infant mortality rates. The initiative, which enables every expecting woman in the country to claim a free Baby Box once she receives prenatal care and parenting information from a healthcare professional, is credited with helping to decrease Finland's infant mortality rate from 65 deaths for each 1,000 children born in 1938 to 1.3 deaths per 1,000 births in 2013, according to the World Health Organization. The success of the Finnish Baby Box intervention inspired the founders of The Baby Box Co. to adapt this tradition with enhanced multimedia parenting curricula through Baby Box University to the benefit of nonprofits, hospitals, government institutions and individual families worldwide. The Baby Box University program's exponential growth has solidified the model as an impactful safe sleep and parenting education intervention for millennials.