Marqevia Johnson uses a Pack ‘N Play portable crib for her 2-month-old son, Cody, to sleep in, but often puts him down for naps in what is essentially a cardboard box.
She likes the box bed because it’s small and simple and easy to carry.
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This year, 12 infants in the city died while sleeping -- a frightening increase compared with 7 deaths in 2016.
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"I've been in maternal and child health advocacy for at least the last 6 years after the death of my daughter because I never wanted another family to go through that traumatic experience," said Roberts, the founder & CEO of Touching Young Lives, Inc.
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It's a lightweight box designed to keep babies well-positioned for safe sleep, as a means of preventing Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
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“I want to show that anybody, at any economic level can use this baby box,” she says. “My mission has always been to prevent others from experiencing the same pain that I did.” Shantell Roberts
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The project aims to encourage safe sleep for infants and is a spinoff of a baby box concept seen in Finland. About 40,000 boxes are given out each year and the program is believed to be one of the contributing factors to Finland's low infant mortality rates.
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Local participant in JHU Innovation Lab wins $25k prize - The Baltimore Times, May 2017
Baltimore Visionaries - profiles of 30 changemakers who are shaping the future of our city - Baltimore Magazine, February 2018
10 budding enterprises selected for support through Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab - JHU Hub, October 2016
10 do-gooding projects from the latest Johns Hopkins Social Innovation Lab cohort - Technical.ly Baltimore, October 2016