Baby Boxes Give New Moms a Starter Kit

Pilot Program to Provide Safe Sleep Option and Supplies

(SAN ANTONIO, TX – January 19, 2016) Babies don’t come with instructions. And new parents are hit with a dizzying array of options for products and parenting. But some young families will be getting a little extra help from University Hospital when they head home with their new baby.

John Chance, who at the time was president of the San Antonio North Central Rotary Club, was online one day when he saw a post about baby boxes that the Finnish government sends home with new moms who have received prenatal counseling. The boxes are a starter kit of newborn essentials, with diapers, clothing, and other supplies – all in a sturdy cardboard box with a fitted mattress at the bottom, providing a safe sleeping option for babies up to about 3 months of age.

“I looked around, and I didn’t see anyone in the U.S. doing anything like this,” Chance said. “The main reason for this is for safe sleep – to keep the baby on their back until they can turn over by themselves.”

Inspired, Chance contacted the University Health System Foundation to see about starting a project for moms in need at University Hospital.

San Antonio North Central Rotary Club, The Junior League of San Antonio, Inc., the Texas Diaper Bank, and the University health System Foundation have partnered to fund 135 baby boxes for this pilot project. These baby boxes don’t have Finnish snow suits, but they do have infant first aid kits, diapers, wipes, ointment, soft teddy bears, and a mattress with a waterproof cover and cotton sheet.

University Health System case managers will follow up with the new moms when the babies are 2-3 months old to gauge how many have used the boxes for safe sleep and if the items were helpful. If the majority are using the boxes, Chance said, the Rotary Club and other partners will push to fund a larger supply of them, starting with 250 next year.

“We chose University Hospital in part because they have the expertise to do the follow up with all the moms,” Chance said.
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