By Kayla Haggett 
BELLEVILLE – Local parents looking for a safe sleep space for their baby can now pick up a box to put their baby in.
Executive director Heather Tapp said that it’s more than just a box – it’s built to be sturdy, comes with a padded mattress and sheet, and has passed the Canadian regulations for cribs, cradles and bassinets. They come in different decorative patterns, and are based on a Finnish tradition that goes back 75 years.
“Ultimately, we do want moms and dads utilizing cribs, but this is like a bassinet, it’s that first step for a safe sleep space for babies,” said Tapp.
Parents can receive a free baby box through the program, as long as they complete a short online course made up of a series of videos and a quiz. Once completed, they receive a certificate they can bring to the centre in order to get their baby box.
Tapp said that they became a distributer because they saw a need in the community, with some parents lacking the money to provide a proper sleep space.
“It’s very affordable – because it’s free. So that makes it an option for everybody.”
The box can be used with children up to three months old, and Tapp says that Baby Box Canada recommends placing the box in a firm, solid location like the floor. Other safety recommendations include not putting the lid on the box, laying babies on their back to sleep and not carrying the box around.
When parents receive the baby box, it is filled with items from both the centre and Baby Box Canada. This includes diaper wipes, baby shampoo, a onesie, a teething ring, some coupons, and some information from the centre about safe sleep practices and the centre itself.
So far the centre has given out 20 baby boxes, but Tapp said she hopes that they’ll sell more as word gets out.
The feedback from the families has been positive, and Tapp thinks the boxes are great for everyone regardless of their situation.
“For some, it’s their only safe sleep space for their babe right now. For others it’s going to be secondary, so it’s just giving them that option to have another spot in their home where they can lay a baby down safely.”