THE BABY BOX PROGRAM
The WIC (women, infants, and children) program, through Marion Public Health, has brought Scandinavian innovation to Marion, Ohio, through their Baby Box program. Baby Boxes are modeled off a Finnish government program that provides all newborns with a safe place to sleep in the early months of life, and essential education for new parents about raising healthy and safe babies.
After the Cribs for Kids program was phased out, staff at WIC were looking for a new way to provide critical support to infants and mothers in the community. Beginning in 2017, WIC staff started distributing Baby Boxes and educational information and support to new mothers in Marion County for free, with no income restrictions. The training and support includes information about preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), help with tobacco cessation, and breastfeeding tips. These Baby Box kits are absolutely essential for new mothers; a safe sleep environment and knowledge about safe sleep practices are vitally important for newborns. Since the program was introduced, WIC has distributed more than 90 Baby Boxes in the community paired with education sessions and other resources to expectant and new mothers.
WIC staff say that mothers are always excited about their new baby boxes. Having a newborn is an exciting and scary adventure and a Baby Box provides peace of mind and reassurance for at least one of many worries! The Baby Box program is making sure that littlest members in our community are getting the care that they need early in life.
Other counties are looking to Marion to see how the program can work for them, and in turn provide this essential service for their communities. WIC’s Baby Boxes program is making sure that the newest members of our MarionMade! family get the best start possible!