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safe sleep

Baby sitting in box
Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Last year I told you about babies in Finland sleeping in boxes. It's a program Finland's government started in 1938 that provides all expectant moms with a maternity box filled with clothes, bedding, and baby products and accessories, along with a mattress to go in the bottom of the box to create a safe first bed for baby to sleep in.

Baby yawning
Jill M / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The holidays are here, and many of you will be heading out of town this weekend to visit family or loved ones. 

If you're traveling with a baby, we want to remind you to plan ahead so that your child has a safe space to sleep. As you're packing up the presents and holiday cookies, make sure you're also bringing a portable crib like a pack and play or a bassinet. 

Baby yawning
Jill M / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Parents should share a room with their babies for at least the first six months of their lives, according to updated guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Swaddled baby
Scott Granneman / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Swaddling – the practice of snugly wrapping an infant with a light cloth, with only the head exposed – mimics the warm, cozy environment of the mother's womb. It's reported to promote better sleep for babies.

But a new study in the journal Pediatrics links the practice to an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Donnie Ray Jones / Flickr Creative Commons / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

When I saw a headline about babies sleeping in boxes today as I was scrolling through the news on my phone, I thought it was a joke.

But it turns out it really is a thing.

Since 1938, Finland's government has provided all expectant moms, regardless of economic status, with a maternity box filled with clothes, bedding, and products used in the first few months of a baby's life.

flickr.com/nichd

Colin Parks gets an email alert almost every time a baby in Michigan dies in their sleep.

Parks is head of Michigan’s Child Protective Services, and he tells me he gets far too many of these emails; they arrive almost every other day.

“In Michigan,” he says, “we lose about 140 to 150 infants a year, and that’s a number that’s been pretty static over time.”

It’s been static, even though Parks, and everyone else who works on infant safety has been desperately trying to get the message out. The message is for all babies to sleep alone, on their back and in an empty crib. To simplify, they use a slogan - ABC - alone, back, crib.