By Steve Sears
The Butler Public Library since June 2017 has been a Baby Box Distribution Center.
Originated in Finland, Baby Boxes are maternity packages given for free to expectant mothers that contain needs for a baby, such as diapers and breast pads, as well as providing a comfortable, safe sleeping space.
The library has given out a total of approximately 93 Baby Boxes thus far.
“We’ve had it for a few years,” says Luis Rodriguez, Library Director, noting the original amount of Baby Boxes received was 60 and has been replenished. “The way it started is we got contacted by Baby Box Company. The New Jersey State Department of Health identified Sudden Infant Death Syndrome as a health problem and, based on the experiences with the Baby Boxes in Finland, they hired a company to help distribute Baby Boxes.”
Expectant moms can register and claim their Baby Boxes at www.babyboxco.com. The process is a simple one. Log on and watch a short training course video for your particular region, take a quiz, and a certificate of completion is awarded, which must be printed, and a screenshot taken. The certificate and email address registered with the certificate must be brought to the library to collect the Baby Box.
“The idea is by putting a very small child in the Baby Box, you decrease the possibility of SIDS. What we’ll do is somebody will call and say, ‘I took the Baby Box test,’ and eventually they come, and we give them the box, and too we’ll help them take them to their car. They seem very happy and we’re more than happy to do this. It’s not a burden and we’re not overwhelmed. It’s a good cause and that’s why we like doing it,” affirms Rodriguez.
Of note is the fact that the Butler Public Library gets contacted by expectant moms from all over. “The closest one, when we started, was one in Bergen County,” explains Rodriguez, “and maybe that’s why we were called. Bergen County was a little far for people in northwestern New Jersey to get to, so they may have chosen us because I had done some work with the state health department, and maybe they had our name on their radar. So, this way you don’t have to drive a half hour or more to get a Baby Box.”
Rodriguez than adds, “My staff is happy to do this. It makes us feel good that we’re doing something that helps the person.”
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for support and questions. You can visit the Butler Public Library at 1 Ace Road in Butler, or call (973-838-3262). Also, visit www.butlerlibrary.org/baby-boxes/.