New bill looks to reduce infant death in Massachusetts

Bill would create online parenting education and provide baby boxes to new parents

BOSTON (WWLP) – Lawmakers are considering bills that would make special boxes for infants to sleep in available to new parents. It’s part of an effort to prevent suffocation and to keep babies safe while they sleep.

Sudden unexpected infant death, such as unintentional suffocation in bed, is a leading cause of infant death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 279 infants died in Massachusetts in 2016.

Infant deaths increased in Hampden County; “co-sleeping” to blame

State Senator Patrick O’Connor is sponsoring a bill aimed at reducing infant mortality rates. It would provide new parents with boxes for their babies to sleep in as well as online parenting education.

He filed the legislation after hearing the story of a baby who died of suffocation after not having a safe sleep environment. “Tragedies like that, I don’t believe need to happen,” O’Connor said. “Providing parents and guardians with prenatal and postnatal education and a safe sleep environment can prevent these tragedies.”

The Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities is currently reviewing testimony on the bill.