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Boxes help babies survive first 6 months

In an effort to reduce infant mortality rates, Southwestern Medical Center has launched a program to help give mothers with newborns free Baby Boxes.

The goal of the program is to improve infant health care outcomes by providing families education and resources needed to ensure a safe start to babies' lives  free of charge.

A recent study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found that approximately 3,500 infants in the U.S. die annually from sleep-related deaths, including sudden unexpected infant death (SUID), ill-defined deaths and accidental suffocation and strangulation.

The Baby Box is a program that started in Finland 80 years ago, according to Emily Minthorn, registered nurse and clinical supervisor of the Newborn Nursery at Southwestern.

"In Finland where the box originates, they have the lowest infant mortality rate in the world," Minthorn said. "We had wanted to adopt this program since it came to the U.S. It's taken about a year to get clearance and become partners with them. We became partners and started distributing boxes in December 2017."

More than 60 boxes have been given away at Southwestern, and it is already working on distributing the second shipment.

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