Artifact of the Month
Artifact of the Month: June 2020

Saving Babies, One Box at a Time

In 2017, PeaceHealth Ketchikan's Specialty Clinics Manager Gail Jones initiated a baby box program to provide new mothers with safety resources and essential supplies for their newborns.

Ketchikan's baby box initiative was modeled after a similar program in Finland, which has among the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. The Finnish government began distributing baby boxes in the 1930s to give all children in Finland, no matter their background, an equal start in life. Each Ketchikan baby box includes clothing, a swaddle blanket, disposable diapers, a digital thermometer, a pacifier, a medicine dropper, and maxi pads and breast pads for new moms. The cardboard box itself also doubles for a bed and comes with a firm foam mattress and mattress protector to promote safe sleep habits. Ketchikan's baby box program was the first in the state and it inspired similar initiatives throughout Alaska, the United States, Canada, Bangladesh, and Dubai.

To make the baby boxes not just functional but also beautiful keepsakes, Gail worked with local Tsimshian artist Ken Decker who created a Northwest Coast-inspired stork design. Ken donated the rights to his design to Safe and Sound Innovations, the Kansas City-based company who makes and distributes the baby boxes. Ken's design is available for boxes in Alaska, the greater United States, and internationally. To compliment the cardboard box, Ken also made a cedar bentwood box that is on display at PeaceHealth's Women's Clinic. PeaceHealth Medical Center generously donated a complete baby box to Ketchikan Museums in 2017 for the permanent collection.

Ketchikan Museums, KM 2017.2.56.1 A&B
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Baby Box and ContentsBaby Box and Contents
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Baby Box- FrontBaby Box- Front
Baby Box- SideBaby Box- Side
Baby Box and LidBaby Box and Lid
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Baby Box with CM rulerBaby Box with CM ruler