BABY BOXES GIVE NEW MOMS A STARTER KIT It began as a little pilot project for new parents at University Hospital at the beginning of the year, a way to encourage safe sleep practices. It wound up making national news. The Finnish government has long sent baby boxes home with new moms who've received prenatal counseling. These sturdy cardboard boxes come with a fitted mattress at the bottom, providing a safe sleeping option for babies up to about 3 months of age. The fact that a hospital in sunny South Texas had imported the idea from chilly Finland generated a lot of interest. But it made sense - particularly in Bexar County, which has recorded high numbers of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death, or SUID. SUID is defined as an unexpected death without a clear cause, such as SIDS, and those from a known cause, such as suffocation. Locally, 16 infants died of SUID in 2015 - the vast majority of them from unsafe sleep practices, according to the Bexar County Medical Examiner. The University Health System Foundation, with support from the San Antonio North Central Rotary Club, the Junior League of San Antonio and the Texas Diaper Bank, started the pilot program with 135 boxes. With additional funding, including support from the San Antonio Area Foundation, the program has been relaunched - along with an online infant safety education platform that expectant moms will view and complete. Once they do, they'll receive a baby box. The boxes contain a starter kit of diapers, clothing and other supplies, and were distributed to low income mothers who might otherwise have difficulty buying those essentials. When word of University Hospital's program got out, the Today show, the online magazine Slate, and countless other media outlets across the nation ran stories. Other hospitals have since jumped in and are providing them. Staff is also gathering data to measure the program's success with an eye on expanding it further.
2016 See How We See Annual Report
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