SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Parents in California can now have access to free baby boxes.

Dozens of families gathered in Los Angeles Wednesday for the launch of a statewide program. The creators of the Baby Box Company say these cardboard boxes serve as a safe sleep space for babies, a need that’s often ignored.

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“We had actually implemented the program at some hospitals and found there was incredible parent demand,” said one of the founders Jennifer Clary.

Clary says the goal is to educate parents and to help decrease the number of infant deaths due to unsafe sleeping environments.
She says the baby boxes were inspired by a program out of Finland. And with this latest rollout, they’re now in 10 states in the U.S.

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“Every person having a child is now eligible for the baby box program,” she said.

Essentially, it’s a cardboard box, with a mattress and a fitted sheet that typically lasts for until 6 months of age.

“Having a safe place for my baby, makes me feel comfortable leaving her in a room by herself,” said Southern California mother, Mariya Zakiuddin.

At the Baby Box truck tour event, families were given the free boxes as well as seminars from medical experts.

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“The goal we have is the education piece, and also to give parents equitable access to a safe sleep space. I think a lot of people don’t realize how many parents don’t have a place to put their infant to sleep safely.

The baby boxes are also filled with free essentials—diapers, and onesies. To be eligible for a free baby box, you must complete a 20-minute online video course teaching you about safe sleep practices and other parenting topics. Once complete, you’ll get a link to all the nearest pickup points in the community.

“If one child dies of an infant sleep death that’s one too many,” said Mike Baldwin.

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Baldwin oversees the safe sleep baby program in Sacramento County.

“One of the major risk factors for infant-related death in Sacramento County has been co-sleeping,” he said.

Baldwin doesn’t endorse the baby box as he says it’s not currently supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics and it’s not been vetted by the consumer product safety commission. But he says reducing infant mortality is critical, and it starts with education and access.

“If we were to hand out a baby box or a crib to any family, and didn’t give them the education, we’d be missing the point. that’s only one facet of infant-safe sleep,” said Baldwin.

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