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TPD pauses distribution of baby boxes, citing safety and effectiveness concerns

Baby boxes create a protected sleep environment for babies who don't have access to a crib.
Posted at 9:50 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 17:38:37-04

UPDATE: Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said Thursday that the department will now be holding off on distributing baby boxes after receiving feedback from others.

"Thanks to feedback from others and despite good intentions from our folks and those at the So AZ Child Advocacy Center, we are holding off on our distribution of these boxes until we can learn more about their safety and effectiveness," said Magnus in a tweet.

Original Story:

A new partnership in Tucson is trying to protect babies from an avoidable tragedy that we see all too often.

Already this year in the city of Tucson, four babies have died because of unsafe sleep environments.

“Unsafe sleep deaths are some of the most preventable tragedies that we encounter as police officers, all the time,” said Beau Wilson, a child abuse detective with the Tucson Police Department.

Many families can’t afford a crib or bassinet for their babies… leaving them on an unstable sleep surface. Babies can then roll and fall off of those surfaces.

TPD and the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center are teaming up to give away ‘Baby Boxes’ for free.

The ‘Baby Boxes’ can save a baby’s life. They provide a safe alternative to a crib or bassinet.

“We want to make sure we can do something to help people that need help in their own homes,” Wilson said.

“I’ve seen a lot of families since we’ve had these baby boxes,” said Nicole Begay, a prevention specialist with the Southern Arizona Children’s Advocacy Center. “They’re just in an urgent situation where they need somewhere for a baby to sleep safely, because we don’t want to put them on the couch.”

A parent sleeping next to their baby—or “co-sleeping”—can also be dangerous because a parent can roll over on top of their child.

“We can prevent that by just having your child in the baby box on your sleep surface next to you, if you feel the need to do that, to where you can be in proximity to your child and still have that loving, tender relationship without putting them at undue risk,” Wilson explained.

Parents should also keep in mind the ‘ABC’s of Safe Sleep’:

The ABC's of Safe Sleep
The ABC's of Safe Sleep

Starting Thursday, free ‘Baby Boxes’ are available at any Tucson police substation. Those locations are listed below:

West Side
1310 W Miracle Mile, Tucson, AZ 85705
1100 S Alvernon Way, Tucson, AZ 85711
South Side
4410 S Park Ave, Tucson, AZ 85714
East Side
9670 E Golf Links Rd, Tucson, AZ 85730