Florida might put babies in boxes to prevent child deaths.
And it’s not as wild as it first sounds.
“It’s not a current practice, at least in Florida,” said Mike Mason, director of the Office of Minority Health. “But we need to evaluate the acceptance of the baby-box concept.”
It’s a tradition in Finland that dates back to the 1930s, according to an BBC news article this April.
“Every new mother, regardless of background or income, gets a baby box from the government,” it says.
“The box contains a stash of supplies—bibs, bodysuits, nappies (diapers), a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products—as well as a small mattress. Putting the mattress in the bottom of the box creates the baby’s first bed.”
The idea is the box especially helps prevent accidental suffocation, especially in home where babies sleep on a parent’s bed because they cannot afford a crib, cradle or “pack ‘n’ play.”
The box also comes filled with “a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys the state gives to expectant mothers,” the BBC story says. “It has been credited with helping Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.”
A box could fit in a dresser drawer or even placed on the bed, Mason said during the call.
“Let’s focus group this in Florida, just to see,” he said.
Focus groups are planned for Jacksonville and Tampa, through Healthy Start coalitions, Mason added.
He said one was already held in predominantly black Gadsden County, where 25 percent of residents live at or below poverty level, according to Census figures.
A call to that county’s Healthy Start coalition went unanswered Wednesday.
There “may not necessarily be a recommendation at the end … but obviously, if it’s worked in Finland for 75 years, it’s worth looking into,” Mason said.