ZANESVILLE, Ohio — Muskingum Valley Health Center will begin implementing a “Baby Box” program that should decrease the number of deaths among newborn babies.
MVHC will provide free baby boxes to any pre-natal patients that complete necessary training courses during their pregnancy, and they’re the first health center in the region to put the program into effect.
“The box actually looks like a little cardboard box with handles. What is supplied in that is an infant mattress. They also supply baby supplies such as dipes, wipes, infant things that they’re going to need. This will be a safe area the baby will be able to sleep in,” said Tracy Ruby, the Women’s Health Nurse Manager at MVHC.
The United States ranks 25th in the world for sudden infant death syndrome, and MVHC hopes a technique used worldwide will help mothers and infants in the community. Finland, which has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, has been handing out baby boxes for decades.
“One of the countries with Finland, has been decreasing their sudden infant death syndrome due to the birthing boxes they have been giving. So we’re trying to decrease the other reasons for sudden infant death to be from suffocation and unknown causes,” added Bijan Goodarzi, M.D., the Department Head of Obstetrics.
Approximately 3,700 infants died suddenly and unexpectedly in 2015, however, such deaths have decreased significantly since the 1990’s when the American Academy of Pediatrics released safe-sleep recommendations. In 1990, there was approximately 130.3 deaths per 100,000 live births, compared to just 38.7 in 2014.
After completion of the training beginning at 28-weeks, patients will have the option to have the boxes sent directly to their home or to MVHC.