Oh, Baby! California Joins States Providing Free Sleep Boxes for Infants

The gift of free baby products is a godsend to parents of newborns.

I mean, babies are expensive, and those first few months can be so overwhelming.

California parents are in luck, however, because The Baby Box Co. just launched its free program statewide.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Baby Box Co., it is exactly what its name implies: a company that makes boxes for babies. Specifically, boxes for babies to sleep in.

Yes, this is a thing.

For decades, babies in Finland have been sleeping in boxes given to parents by the government at the child’s birth. And Finland’s infant mortality rate is significantly lower than that of the United States.

Inspired by the Finnish tradition, The Baby Box Co. provides new parents with a sleep environment for their infants that it says is certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for meeting the highest safety standards.

The boxes, which are 26.75 inches long, 16.75 inches wide and 11.5 inches deep, come with small, firm mattresses and fitted sheets. The overall package also includes freebies like baby wipes, personal-care products, nursing pads, feminine-care products, baby clothing, activity cards and a waterproof tote bag.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends newborns sleep on their backs on a firm sleep surface with a tight-fitting sheet to avoid the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Because baby boxes fill that bill, states including New Jersey have provided them for free in conjunction with The Baby Box Co.

Another highlight of the baby-box program is that it educates new parents with free online videos on topics such as breastfeeding, postpartum depression and how to boost your baby’s brain development.

A Growing Movement

The new program launch in California marks The Baby Box Co.’s 10th — and largest — statewide rollout.

Last year, we wrote about it when the company partnered with its first state — New Jersey — to give out boxes, and later when programs expanded to Ohio and Alabama.

The company also kicked off statewide programs in Colorado, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin and distributes free baby boxes on a limited basis in other states.

According to The Baby Box. Co., it has distributed approximately 250,000 free boxes nationwide.

Parents who don’t live in an area where the free baby boxes are offered can buy them, with prices ranging from $69.99 for a basic package to $199.99 for the most upgraded version.

The company’s online education courses via Baby Box University are free for anyone to access.

What California Parents Need to Know

To snag a free baby box, California parents must:

  1. Visit this link to join Baby Box University, registering as a California resident.
  2. Watch the online course created by local experts.
  3. Take a short quiz to receive a certificate of completion.
  4. Select a nearby pickup location. (Or, for $4, the boxes can be shipped directly to your home.)

The Baby Box Co. says babies can sleep in the boxes until they are about 5 to 6 months old or until they can pull themselves up on their own. After that, parents can repurpose the box into storage for toys or keepsakes.

Nicole Dow is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She enjoys writing about parenting and money.