After New Jersey recently began distributing safe sleep «baby boxes» to new parents when they leave the hospital, questions have arisen about the boxes and their safety for infants. The initiative is modeled after a successful campaign in Finland dating back to the 1930s to reduce preventable infant mortality due to unsafe sleeping.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Committee has released the following statement:
«Cardboard boxes for babies are currently not subject to any mandatory safety standards. These products do not meet the federal definition of a crib, bassinet, play yard, or handheld carrier. CPSC staff is participating with a leading standards development organization, baby box manufacturers, child safety experts, and other stakeholders to include requirements for cardboard baby boxes within the bassinet voluntary standard. As with all other infant sleeping areas, it is extremely important for parents and caregivers to remember: ‘Back to Sleep’ and ‘Bare is Best.'»
Cribs for Kids, a national organization with which Children’s Trust has partnered, outlines a safety comparison between cribs and baby boxes. Some hazards include placement and stability of the box, discontinued use if the box gets wet, sharp edges or points, unintentional folding and small parts.
A story published by NPR over the weekend, noted that baby box programs are starting in Alabama, Ohio and New Jersey. The article also noted that baby boxes can also increase awareness on safe sleep practices.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies sleep safely only when they are alone, on their backs and in a crib without pillows, toys, bumpers and bedding.