RVA Parenting: Possible life-saving baby box program launches in Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Put your baby in a box -- that's a new message being shared by a group trying to improve safe sleep for area newborns. It turns out, letting your baby sleep in a box could save his or her life.

The baby boxes, being distributed by the Urban Baby Beginnings program, are designed as safe sleeping locations for newborns. They won't suffocate, get smothered, or choke on loose bedding or items near them.

They're easy to move, and easy to use.

And they're being given to many moms in Central Virginia who don't have a crib or a safe option.

"What we were finding when we went into the home setting was that mom was putting the baby in the bed or she did not have a bed at all, so she was being very creative," said Stephanie Spencer with Urban Baby Beginnings. "We even had mothers who had built bedding."

The box isn't unprecedented. Many new mothers in Finland get one, and it's completely normal for most new babies to sleep in one.

Finland now has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

The box comes with several items to get a new family started, such as diapers and wipes.

It comes with a program for parents to take safety courses, as well as a safe mattress and mattress cover.

"And they can stay in this box until about 5 months (old) when they start rolling over and try to pull up on the side of the box," said Amy Washington.

The launch of the Universal Safe Sleep Program in Virginia is currently concentrated in Richmond and its surrounding areas, but Baby Box Co. has plans to expand throughout the U.S. and the world.

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