The United States ranks 56th in the world in infant mortality, barely breaking the top 25 percent, falling behind such countries as Bosnia- Herzegovina and Latvia. In an effort to decrease the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the Columbia Pacific CCO (CPCCO) has partnered with local health care provider Columbia Health Services (CHS) to provide Finnish-style baby boxes to expectant mothers.
According to CPCCO, the baby boxes promote sleep safety and convenience for the family. They are made of water-repellent corrugated material with seamless construction, making them strong and durable. They come equipped with a CertiPUR-certified mattress, a 100 percent cotton sheet and information on sleep safety.
“It’s such a simple idea – keeping your baby close while they sleep – and so convenient,” Safina Koreishi, MD, medical director for CPCCO said. “The boxes are designed by pediatricians and sleep safety experts. All of the components of the boxes meet or exceed Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) bassinet standards, yet they are lightweight to carry and very sturdy in terms of weight capacity.”
New Clastkanie mother, Sierra Sanders, recently received a baby box for her two-month-old infant, Aryah Young.
“It’s very convenient,” Sanders said. “We went on vacation for about a week and we put all the baby stuff in it. It’s good for getting from point A to point B. Then the baby stuff comes out and she has a bed already there.”
Patti Atkins, CPCCO communication consultant, said the boxes are made in Portland, and it was a nurse in Portland who came up with the idea to hand them out.
“She was at Emmanuel hospital and became a specialist in children’s safety, which I think is really cool,” Atkins said. “In Finland they do these all the time, obviously.”
The Finnish-style baby box program was launched in 1938, when almost one in ten children died during their first year of life. The country has now achieved one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, recording 2.3 deaths/1,000 live births in 2017, according to United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) data.
Exhausted parents are often attracted to sleepers that attach by sliding under the edge of their mattress or have a lip on them so they can be put in the middle of a bed, but those are not CPSC certified, according to Atkins.
“When you’re a new parent, you both are just so exhausted and sometimes you’re not making good decisions,” Atkins said. “Parents can put these boxes right next to their bed or in the middle of the bed to keep the baby close.”
The boxes can be picked up at the CHS office, located at 2370 Gable Road, by anyone on the Oregon Health Plan. CHS home visiting nurse Rachel Krager said the program is also being implemented in Tillamook and Clatsop counties.