NEW JERSEY - The United States has a staggering infant mortality rate, with 6.5 infant deaths per 1,000 births, landing at 23rd behind other industrialized nations. Finland pioneered a unique program over 80 years ago that has driven their infant mortality rate to 1.3 deaths per 1,000 births, and it all comes in a simple cardboard box. In tandem with The Baby Box Company, New Jersey is the first state to offer baby boxes to all first-time parents. 

The Baby Box Company announced on its website that it partnered with New Jersey's Child Fatality and Near Fatality Review Board to distribute the baby boxes filled with essential items for newborns. The box also functions as a safe sleeping space for the first few months to help reduce the rate of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. 

Expecting and new parents in New Jersey must register online at  http://babyboxuniversity.com and must review their education curriculum on newborn care and take a short quiz. Once all the steps are completed parents can decide whether to pick up the baby box or have it delivered. The box contains diapers, a onesie, baby wipes, and breast pads and nipple cream for breastfeeding mothers.

The effort, made possible through a grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is expected to provide about 105,000 baby boxes in 2017.