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Why Denver health officials hope a simple cardboard box will reduce infant mortality

July 17, 2017

Denver Public Health hopes soon to begin a campaign distributing free baby sleep boxes across the city, a first, modest step in Colorado to help new parents gain access to a simple tool that health experts say could greatly reduce infant mortality.

The boxes — made of cardboard and decorated with playful, kid-friendly designs — are given to new or expecting mothers and typically hold diapers, wipes and maybe a set of baby pajamas or a sleep sack. But the most important part is the box itself. Each box also comes with a firm mattress pad that allows the box to be turned into a basic, but safe, bed for infants under about 6 months old.

Kellie Teter, Denver Public Health’s maternal child health manager, said sleep-related deaths — whether caused by babies sleeping in the same bed as their parents or babies suffocating after rolling into too-soft bedding or pillows — is one of the biggest causes of sudden infant death.

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