Safe sleep…In a Baby Box?
Posted In: Safe Sleep
Published on: July 27, 2018
The baby box revolution has officially arrived in the US. Which is pretty exciting – it means more babies have safe places to sleep and our female-owned, made in the USA business is thriving. But, we can’t help but wonder, baby boxes have been in Europe for more than 80 years. Why are they just now popular in America?
Well, I have a few hunches. Here are the six reasons I think baby boxes are taking off in the US:
#1 Finnish baby boxes finally made their US debut
Until recently, most of us had no idea that Finland had been giving a baby box to every mom-to-be since 1935. The Finnish government started this effort in order to lower their infant mortality rate – and it worked! Four years ago, the NY Times published an article about the Finnish program. It was a “Hey! Check out this weird-but-cool thing the Scandis are doing!” kind of piece. But, the idea caught on because it was an unexpected approach that calls us back to a simpler way of life. Plus it’s an example of a government helping new families – what a novel idea!
#2 Safe sleep is a priority
We all know about SIDS and suffocation risks for babies. The “back-to-sleep” campaign launched by pediatricians and public health experts in the ‘90s helped dramatically reduce the incidence of SIDS among babies in the US. But then things kind of stalled and the rate has held steady at 3500 infant deaths per year. That’s a terrifying statistic for any parent. All parents can (and frequently do) imagine losing their child and desperately want to keep their babies safe. Baby box parents have found a new, innovative way to ensure their little ones are sleeping safely, helping parents sleep well, too.
#3 “More is more” has become too much
We’ve all seen those celebrity instagram accounts (starts with a “K”, ends with an “ardashian”) featuring rose gold cribs and diamond-encrusted burp cloths. And it all just feels a little…ridiculous. All this aspiring to have bigger, fancier, more instagrammable baby gear has left a lot of parents cold. No one should have to take out a loan for a pretty baby bed. Especially given that one’s little darling is going to spit up on said bed at least 14 million times. I think baby box parents are looking for a simple, elegant safe sleep solution that doesn’t require selling a kidney. And, PS, baby boxes are still totally instagrammable.
#4 Love your Mother (Earth)
When I think about how much baby stuff ends up in the landfill, I get queasy. I picture a trash mountain of high chairs, pack ‘n’ plays, bouncy seats, and Sophie Giraffes. Do you see it, too? Every baby born has most of that stuff and it has to go somewhere when baby outgrows it. Our collective awareness of how all this plastic impacts the planet has been growing. Baby box parents look for green, earth-friendly solutions anywhere they can find them. A baby box is made from recycled materials and can be recycled when baby outgrows it. Voila!
#5 We long for simpler solutions
We have monitors to monitor our monitors these days. There are devices that count how many words a baby hears in a day. Babies wear special socks to measure their heart rate. There’s a changing table that weighs baby at every diaper change – just to be sure the kidling is growing well. Technology can be grand, don’t get me wrong. But it can also make us more anxious. (What do you do if baby’s weight dips for a day? Should you worry? Or maybe it’s nothing? Or the baby probably has cancer? Or is teething? Or Or Or Or?) Baby box parents are looking for something simpler. Worried about baby? Just peek into the box, which is always close at hand, and see your little love breathing. Now you can breathe, too.
#6 Pediatricians released those safe sleep guidelines and parents kind of panicked because now we’re supposed to keep babies in our rooms until they go to college
Ok. That’s an exaggeration. But, the American Academy of Pediatrics does recommend that babies sleep in their parents’ rooms (but not their parents’ beds) for at least 6 months. Parents everywhere said “Whoa” and started wondering if they would ever sleep again (nope). Baby box parents found a way to meet this guideline without moving an entire nursery into the master bedroom. Instead, they put a baby box in their room for baby’s first six months and then transition baby to a crib in his or her nursery. The master bedroom remains a parent-centered haven. Oh, and baby box parents temporarily relocate the baby box to the nursery during “adult only” time (picture my suggestive eyebrow waggle here).
So, in summary, I think baby boxes have (finally) become popular because of this beautiful confluence of events. Parents were searching for a simple, earth-friendly, safe sleep solution and the baby box arrived just in time.