‘Baby Boxes’ bring comfort, safety to newborns and parents

February 15, 2017 07:00 PM

GLOVERSVILLE - Finland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world. Baby Boxes get much of the credit.

For decades, new parents have been given the laminated cardboard boxes for free, providing a safe sleeping environment for the baby. They're starting to catch-on in this country. Nathan Littauer Hospital in Gloversville just became the first hospital in New York State to provide those boxes for all newborns.

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Three day old Genevive Hart is the first baby born at Nathan Littauer Hospital to go home with a Baby Box. She liked it so much she squawked when taken from the snug spot. Her mom, Caroline, says the Baby Box will be a welcome addition when they get home.

"It's very functional. We can bring it from room to room, wherever we need to set her down, maybe in a hurry," she explained.

About 350 babies are expected to be born this year at Nathan Littauer Hospital. Every one will go home with these special boxes. Nathan Littauer is the first hospital in New York to embrace the Baby Box movement.

Half were paid for through a grant, the other half donated by Baby Box, thanks to the effort by hospital VP for Marketing and Community Relations, Cheryl G. McGrattan.

"So I explained that we're a small community hospital. We're serving a rural community. We're serving moms that could really need this, moms who may move frequently, moms who may not have that shiny new crib," she noted.

Even if they do, they'll still get the box packed with items necessary for baby's first days, including caps knitted by women in the Gloversville community. However, before they get the baby box, they're required to watch an instructional video explaining best care practices for the newborn.

Aaron and Lindsey Bagwell are anxiously awaiting the birth of their daughter later this month.

"I didn't know that you had to leave the baby on the back once she sleeps," admitted Aaron Bagwell.

Along with putting baby to sleep on her back to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, they learned babies should sleep on a firm mattress with snugly fitted sheets and those are in the Baby Boxes. The Bagwell baby has a crib waiting at home, but because financial hardship is common in Fulton County, not every baby has a safe place to sleep.

"There's about 2,000 babies a year in the United States that are harmed by sleeping in the parents bed," noted Dr. Peter Dowling an Ob/Gyn at Nathan Littauer Hospital.

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The Baby Boxes will protect those newborns. The hospital is already looking for ways to fund the Baby Boxes next year.

Dr. Dowling says Senator Kemp Hannon has introduced a bill to ensure every baby born in New York gets a Baby Box. NewsChannel 13 will keep you posted on that. He adds the laminated cardboard boxes are so durable they may endure until kids pack up for college.


Benita Zahn

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