Safe Sleep Baby Boxes making their way to Wisconsin

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — A program that is helping keep babies safe elsewhere may be starting to take hold in Wisconsin.

New parents in New Jersey receive what is known as a Baby Box when they leave the hospital.

It’s a box filled with newborn essentials that also doubles as a safe place for infants to sleep.

According to a report by the Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board, 93 percent of children who die because of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) do so because of their sleeping environment.

“Sometimes inadvertently a baby can get trapped between a parent or in a couch cushion,” said Dr. Lindsay Deuster, pediatrician with Prevea. “A parent can roll over on them accidentally. We can see deaths from suffocation from these situations.”

New Jersey is now partnering with Baby Box, a company inspired by the boxes given out for decades in Finland to parents of newborns.

The boxes serve as a safe place for babies to sleep.

“These highlight that it really doesn’t have to be a big crib, necessarily, if we can’t afford it. That even a small space as long as it’s flat is really where newborns need to be sleeping to be safe,” Dr. Deuster said.

Unlike New Jersey, Baby Boxes aren’t sent home with every new parent in Wisconsin.

However, the boxes do exist in the state.

Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin began giving out boxes, filled with safe sleeping information, a pacifier, and a sleep sack, in the fall.

“We are distributing them through our local public health departments and we also have a special pilot program in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin,” said Karen Ordinans, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin’s executive director.

So far the alliance has given out about 20 boxes, known as Newborn Nests.

Leaders said they hope the program grows.

“Our goal would be to have every family in Wisconsin receive one of these Newborn Nests when their baby is born,” Ordinans said. “Our goal is to learn from the pilot. We want to get feedback from our families. We want to learn how they’ve been helpful to families and how they’re being utilized and then, of course, we would love to be able to get more resources to expand this.”