Philadelphia hospital giving out ‘baby boxes’ to promote safe newborn sleep

  • A newborn in a Temple University Hospital baby box, which serves as a bassinet. (image courtesy Temple University Hospital)

    A newborn in a Temple University Hospital baby box, which serves as a bassinet. (image courtesy Temple University Hospital)

When Brianna Devero brought her newborn son home for the first time on May 3, she’d spent two days in the hospital, was exhausted, and didn’t have his pack ’n play set up because he was two weeks early.

But as the first recipient of a baby box from Temple University Hospital (TUH)’s newborn safety program, what she did have was clothing, diapers, and educational materials— all packed in a cardboard box with a fitted mattress. The box, a functioning bassinet, is Steven Anthony Tonzelli Jr.’s home until he outgrows it.

“[After] coming home and nothing being put together because he came early, this was nice and easy to place him in there when I needed to relax,” Devero, 21, of Philadelphia, told “I was discharged at 8 p.m., and nobody feels like putting anything together late at night after being in the hospital.”

While a cardboard box for a newborn may sound unusual, it’s been a tradition in Finland since the 1930s. The Finnish government offers new mothers a baby box or $150. Most first-time mothers opt for one, and it’s widely accepted as a rite of passage.

“The reason we like it so much is because it’s a very safe place for a baby to sleep,” Dr. Megan Heere, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, told “During that time, parents hopefully can establish a safe sleep environment for Baby.”

The baby boxes, which are manufactured by The Baby Box Co., have been independently tested for safety by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and they can be used until the baby is about 5 to 6 months old, or weighs 15 pounds.

For the team at TUH, the box is a potential solution for the city’s high infant mortality rate. For every 1,000 live births in Philadelphia, 11.2 infants die— that’s almost twice as much as the national rate. In north Philadelphia, the area served by TUH, the rate is even higher, Heere said. To address the issue, TUH launched the Sleep Awareness Family Education at Temple, or SAFE-T, program in January 2015.

Through Temple research and known data, the team became aware of a “huge issue with infant sleeping practices and environment, as reported by parents and, sadly, death reports of our city,” said Heere, who is also the medical director of the Well Baby Nursery at TUH. An infant’s SIDS risk peaks when they’re between 1 and 4 months old, she said, adding that 90 percent of cases occur before six months.

Any sudden and unexpected death of an infant, whether explained or unexplained, is medically considered a sudden unexpected infant death (SUID). Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the leading cause of SUID, followed by unknown causes, and accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Every year in the United States, there are about 3,500 cases of sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).

In 2011, the American Academy of Pediatrics expanded its recommendation on SIDS prevention to include safe infant sleeping environment. Babies should sleep alone, on their backs, in their own cribs with just a mattress— no blankets, bumpers, or stuffed animals. Heere noted that the recommendation is abbreviated as ABC, standing for alone, back, crib.

“Our infants and our parents have an issue with this, so we decided to give out the baby box to see if intervention would change [sleeping habits],” Heere said.

The baby boxes are the third part of the SAFE-T program. The first phase ran from January 2015 through October 2015, at which time 1,200 new moms received standard-practice sleep education. During phase two, which started in February, mothers received more extensive safe sleep education and given materials about safe sleep. This third phase, which will last about one year, includes the extensive safe sleep education, the baby boxes, and access to a website with newborn education videos. Through each phase, TUH followed up by phone survey.

Using the phone survey data, the Temple team can assess whether rates of co-sleeping change, and if there is a risk reduction for SIDS.

Temple projects it will give 3,000 baby boxes to new mothers; about 250 moms give birth at the hospital each month. Heere noted that the medical team is aiming to obtain additional funding to extend the program but are fully funded for one year.

The resources packed in the boxes, which are manufactured by The Baby Box Co., include an immunization record to stress the importance of vaccines and pamphlets on breastfeeding, community resources, smoking cessation, organizations that offer free cribs and other baby gear, teen parenting classes, and organizations that help teen parents obtain work and life skills.

“Knowing our patients live in a high-risk area, we include information on the domestic violence hotline for Philadelphia,” Heere said. The city fire department has partnered with the program and offers free installation of smoke detectors.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Overview | HealthGrove
The box also has a cardboard baby book from the Charlie’s Kids Foundation to encourage reading to babies, help foster parent-child bonding and double as a safe-sleep reminder to parents.

When TUH was fundraising for the program, they received $5,000 in 48 hours, the fastest crowd-funded project in the hospital’s history. Not only did they get donations, but they also got volunteers, including 30 medical students and doctors from other departments who joined in packing the boxes.

“We’re just really excited about the program, not only for what it can do for our community— and our goal is to reduce infant mortality— but also from the community support it’s gotten,” Heere said.

For Devero and her fiancé, Steven Anthony Tonzelli, the box allows them to keep the boy nearby wherever they are in the house and has made parenthood less stressful.

“It’s very good they’ve started doing this because a lot of people won’t admit they don’t have everything ready. It’s OK to be afraid to be a new mom,” she said. “It’s a good starting spot for him. When he’s older, it’ll always be a memory we have.”

Source : Foxnews

11 Foods To Eat At Night If You Want Better Sleep & To Wake Up Feeling Refreshed


If you’re like me, then one of your hobbies is staring into the refrigerator and wondering what to eat before bed. It often feels like quite the big decision as I try to remember whether or not it’s OK to eat before bed, much less whichfoods are OK to eat. I often give up, and go stalking off to bed, sans midnight snack.

So isn’t it good news for us late night snackers that eating before bed is not only OK, but encouraged? If you can choose the right foods, you’ll go to bed fully satiated, and ready to sleep through the night. Some foods even make it easier to sleep, and what could be better than that?

To help break it down further, I reached out to Lauren Minchen, a nutritionist on GoodLooks, for her take on what’s best to eat before bed. “I generally recommend staying away from anything but proteins, nuts, seeds, fruits or veggies before bed. And some who are particularly sensitive to sugar intake may also want to avoid fruit,” Minchen says. “I love lean slices of chicken or turkey with avocado, two string cheese sticks with an apple, 1/4 cup nuts and seeds mix, a small cottage cheese, or a small bowl of berries and/or melon before bed. These are all either protein, fat, or fiber rich foods that fight inflammation (which can also elevate cortisol) and support a healthy blood sugar balance.”

With your body stocked up and balanced on such good nutrition, you’ll besleeping like a baby until morning. Here are some other sleep-inducing snacks to consider before you hit the hay.

1. Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice may seem like a kind of a weird choice, but trust me when I say it can help with sleep. That’s because cherries contain melatonin, a chemical that helps control your body’s internal clock. In fact, one study found that drinking tart cherry juice resulted in small improvements in sleepduration and quality in adults who suffered from chronic insomnia, according to Amanda Gardner said on Health. If nothing else, cherry juice is delicious, and therefore totally worth a try.

2. A Fatty Fish

If you have some leftover fish from dinner, go ahead and pop it in the microwave for a sleep-inducing midnight snack. “Wild fish contains vitamin B6, which is needed to create melatonin,” Minchen says. Just don’t go overboard, since protein is difficult to digest and can make sleeping more difficult.

3. Guacamole & Chips

Here’s your new excuse to justify those late night trips to the kitchen for some guac and chips. Avocados contain magnesium, which has been shown to help with sleep. As Katie Golde said on, “In one study of older adults with insomnia, magnesium had a positive effect on the quality of their sleep, like the length of time they slept and their ease in waking up (among other factors).”

4. Crunchy Popcorn

Yes, another late night snack justification. This time it’s popcorn, with it’s amazing ability to induce sleep. According to Jessica Migala on Prevention, “The carbs in popcorn stimulate the release of insulin, which has been proven to control your circadian clock, according to a new study on mice published in the journal Cell Reports.” So get to snacking, and then to sleeping.

5. Jasmine Rice

Adding some jasmine rice to your snacking repertoire may also help you drift off to dreamland. As Gardner said, “A 2007 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming jasmine rice four hours before bedtime cut the amount of time it took to fall asleep in half when compared with eating a high-glycemic-index meal at the same time interval. The authors speculate that high-glycemic-index meals may up the production of tryptophan.”

6. A Container Of Yogurt

Run to the grocery store right now and stock up on yogurt, as it might just help you get to sleep. That’s because dairy products like yogurt and milk contain healthy doses of calcium, which can actually assist your body in using the amino acid, tryptophan, increasing sleepiness, according to Minchen. So stock up, and start boosting your calcium levels.

7. A Big Bowl Of (Fortified) Cereal

Sadly, I’m not talking about your go-to sugary cereal, but instead one that is all kinds of healthy (and real). As Minchen says, “Whole grains (not in flour form) … contain magnesium, which can aid in sleep.” Read those labels, and look for the options with actual whole grains.

8. Some Walnuts

Another option is a handful of walnuts, as they also contain the magic of melatonin. As Migala said, “… eating them has been proven to increase levels in your blood, according a study in Nutrition.” Grab a few, and head off to snack away in bed.

9. A Ripe Banana

A banana is a quick and easy thing to grab whilst you stroll of to bed. They help promote sleep with their high doses of magnesium and potassium, whichare both natural muscle-relaxants.Plus, they contain carbs, which help make you sleepy, according to Gardner.

10. Cheese & Crackers


Here’s a good combo snack idea, if you’re looking for one. Cheese and crackers, or any carb/protein combo, can do wonders for sleep. “Breads, crackers, pastas, or rice combined with a protein, like turkey, eggs, or low-fat dairy, may be the perfect combination for a pre-sleep snack,” Golde said.

11. A Cup Of Soup


There’s not much science here — soup is simply warm and comforting. And what could be better than that? As Migala said, “Go for ones that are easy to digest; smooth soups like butternut squash or broth-based ones like chicken noodle are good bets (but avoid tough-to-digest versions like lentil or bean).”

And with that, I hope you join me in some fine, late-night snacking. After all, it may just guarantee a good night’s rest.

Images: Pexels (12); Pixabay (2)

Source : Bustle