The Welcome Baby Box is South Lane County's first chosen child abuse prevention strategy. The Box is a safe sleep system – a “Smitten” designed by Portland company Pip & Grow to provide a safe, convenient place for infants to sleep – stocked with parenting essentials and resources. It will be available to every baby born in South Lane County starting in August 2017. By decreasing parental isolation and offering support to parents when they need it most, this version of the famous Finnish Baby Box - which many credit with reducing Finland's infant mortality rate by providing a simple, SIDS-reducing place for babies to sleep - will be a valuable community resource.
The process of putting together the boxes is in itself community-building. One local group is knitting booties. A Lane County business is funding a DVD that describes "The Period of Purple Crying" - a film designed to prevent shaken baby syndrome. Another group will donate diapers and another bottles. 90by30 and its partners, such as Parenting Now!, HeadStart, local Relief Nurseries, United Way and Lane County Public Health are providing resources and educational materials to support new parents. Building and filling the Welcome Baby boxes offers community members the opportunity to participate and unite around a common goal.
Cottage Grove recently launched the WBB effort at the Parent Partnership's Community Baby Shower in Bohemia Park. (See KEZI's coverage here.) Stay tuned as the distribution of boxes begins and 90by30 explores countywide implementation of the Baby Box project.