HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and The Baby Box Co., the company behind the global integrated program Baby Box University to improve family healthcare outcomes and reduce Sudden Unexpected Infant Death Syndrome (SUIDS), announced that Alabama will launch a statewide program where all expecting and new parents can receive a free Baby Box by completing online parenting education.
In 2017, the program will distribute up to 60,000 Baby Boxes, ensuring that every expecting family in Alabama has access to this free resource regardless of socioeconomic background.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, in 2015 there were 8.3 deaths per 1,000 births in Alabama. Although this places Alabama above average on a national scale, there is a large discrepancy between the health care outcomes of African-American and Caucasian babies.
Approximately one-third of the 59,651 babies born in Alabama last year were born to African-American mothers, with the infant mortality rate for African-American babies at 13.9 per 1,000 live births, while it was 6.0 for Caucasians, representing a significant racial disparity statewide.
To combat infant mortality in Alabama and, in an effort to democratize access to quality perinatal education and baby supplies, Governor Bentley in is launching a universal safe sleep program in partnership with The Baby Box Co., Alabama Rural Development Office, Alabama Department of Public Health and numerous network partners.
“The Baby Box program is essential to establishing a strong understanding of proper infant care during their most vulnerable time in life,” Governor Bentley said. “This statewide program encourages new and expecting parents, of all socioeconomic backgrounds, to take advantage of this free educational program, which can be the difference between life and death. We ultimately want to reduce the infant mortality rate in Alabama and assist families in raising happy, healthy babies.”
The Baby Boxes, which are made from a durable cardboard, can be used as a baby’s bed for the first months of life. While parents appreciate the Baby Boxes and quality care products included, it is the educational component and closer communication with local healthcare providers that is at the center of the Baby Box University distribution model.
Families will be required to view their community’s online curriculum related to prenatal health, breastfeeding, safe sleep practices and newborn care before receiving a free Baby Box. In this way, the Baby Box University program model pays its ultimate homage to the Finnish tradition, which is committed not just to universal product distribution, but to supporting families with access to healthcare and education.
“We are excited to be one of the first states to offer this program statewide to provide families with the tools and education to give their babies a healthy start in life,” said Ron Sparks, Director of Alabama Rural Development Office. “The ultimate goal of the program is to save babies’ lives.”
“We applaud the Governor and the collaborating agencies that are making the Baby Box Initiative a reality,” said Dr. Tom Miller, Alabama State Health Officer. “There is much work to be done to address the ongoing challenge of infant mortality here in the state. This initiative will assist in addressing the challenge by providing education to parents from medical providers that practice within our state.”
How do Alabama New Parents Can Get Their Free Baby Box? It takes only 3 easy steps for Alabama’s expecting and new parents to get their free Baby Box:
- Register for free online at babyboxuniversity.com as an Alabama resident. Be sure to include your correct contact information, including mailing address.
- Watch the 10-15 minute Alabama syllabus at babyboxuniversity.com. After taking a short quiz, you will receive a certificate of completion and be able to select local pick-up or direct delivery of your Baby Box.
- If you select direct delivery, your Baby Box will ship to the address you provided when you registered on Baby Box University. If you select local pick up, bring your Baby Box University certificate to the closest participating distribution site to collect your Baby Box.
“I’m so proud to share the Baby Box University program with expecting and new parents in Alabama,” said Jennifer Clary, the CEO of The Baby Box Co., which is supplying Alabama with the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships.
“Every parent has a right to the necessary tools to care for their infant and every child deserves a safe and supported start in life. Alabama’s leadership is demonstrating a commitment to making basic child-care resources and education universally accessible to families statewide. It’s an honor to help them realize this incredible vision.”
The brands included in the Baby Boxes are also committed to the program’s education mission, with every product featuring a scientifically proven baby brain-boosting activity parents can do while using the item.
All expecting parents living in Alabama are eligible to receive a Baby Box which includes newborn essentials such as Pampers Swaddlers diapers, Pampers baby wipes, Vroom activity cards from the Bezos Family Foundation, Lansinoh breast pads and nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers, onesie, waterproof tote bag and more.