For Jernica Quiñones, the reality of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS, hit close to home this year when a friend woke up on New Year’s Day and discovered the lifeless body of her baby girl.
That’s why Quiñones’ 4-month-old son, Bless'n, has spent a lot of his life so far sleeping in a cardboard box.
The 33-year-old mother of five took part in a program in New Jersey that promotes safe sleep education through the distribution of “baby boxes” that double as bassinets.
“Some mothers can’t buy a Pack-n-Play or a crib,” Quiñones says. And that can lead to bed sharing, a risk factor for SIDS.
The program is a riff on Finland’s well-known baby box, or maternity package, which the government gives to expectant mothers who get a prenatal checkup: It’s the box, plus clothing, blankets and other supplies.
Now that Finnish model is making inroads in the U.S., but with a twist. Instead of being a prenatal incentive, it’s being used to deliver a postpartum safe sleep message.
Photos: Maddie McGarvey for NPR