Photos of what's inside those 'baby boxes' you keep hearing about.

For parents-to-be, planning and designing a nursery can be a lot of fun. But it's also a luxury not every parent can afford.

That top-of-the-line crib from Pottery Barn sure is gorgeous, but it's out of reach for many people. Even a new crib from a big-box store might not be in the budget. Many new parents don't even have the space for a dedicated nursery.

But the baby's coming regardless, and it needs a safe place to sleep. So what's a parent to do?


Countries around the world, and the United States, more recently, are giving out baby boxes — simple cardboard boxes with a small cushion that can serve as a perfectly suitable bed for newborn babies.

The boxes also come with some basic supplies to get new parents through those first handful of rough nights at home. Though simple in concept, these boxes have been shown to drastically decrease infant mortality rates in areas where they're available.

But what exactly does a baby box look like? And what's inside? I got one from The Baby Box Company so we could find out.

The folks at The Baby Box Company sent me one of the free boxes used during the program launch in Virginia; this is what new parents there get in exchange for completing an online parenting class.

The first thing you'll notice is that the baby box comes inside another box. You won't want your baby to sleep in that outer one, but it's big enough that it might come in handy if you ever move — or if you need a makeshift sled next time it snows.

All photos by Evan Porter/Upworthy.

Inside, you'll find the goodies. The actual baby box itself comes packed flat and assembles with just a few folds and a tucked tab or two.

There are pretty detailed visual instructions in case you take a wrong turn somewhere. IKEA would be proud.

(Attention experienced DIYers: Read the instructions. Your infant will be sleeping here; better to do it right.)

Voila! It only takes a minute or two to fully assemble the box. (Take that, fancy cribs.)

When it comes to baby boxes, the name of the game is safety. So there's also a helpful reminder to not put anything besides your baby in the box.

For the uninitiated, it might seem counter-intuitive to not put any blankets or pillows in with your baby, but it's a critical thing to remember.

And then there's the mattress, of course.

It fits perfectly inside the box.

There. Doesn't that look cozy?

The baby box is more than just a temporary crib. It also comes with some super clutch supplies inside to help parents through those first few days.

First of all, I super appreciate that shampoo, body wash, and deodorant are included. New parents, don't forget to take care of yourselves too.

When you first bring your baby home, you will definitely forget about things like eating and personal hygiene. Something as simple as a hot shower can definitely help keep you sane and prepared to care for your infant.

There's also a starter pack of Pampers newborn diapers, complete with an adorable tip on how to create your own "diaper song."

The company says this is a proven, if silly, way to help new parents bond with their babies.

Then there's a sampler of Diaper Doo — lotion used to treat bad diaper rashes.

It's a lifesaver for any parent.

Next up is a pack of wet wipes, of which you can never have too many.

There's also a nice reminder to talk to your baby about textures to help them learn.

The box even comes with laundry detergent tabs because they know running the washing machine multiple times per day is your life now.

What the baby box provides barely scratches the surface of what the baby will need, so it also comes with some really handy coupons to help restock on diapers, wipes, and more.

It's certainly not everything you need, but the baby box is a pretty good start.

For anyone on a tight budget, or even someone caught unprepared for the baby's arrival, a box like this could be an actual lifesaver.

OK, so how do you get a baby box? It's pretty easy in most places.

A few states (New Jersey, Ohio, and Alabama — with more on the way) offer a free box program, where expecting parents can go online, take a quick child education course, and get a no-cost baby box in return.

Even if you can't get one for free, you can order a box straight from The Baby Box Company starting at around $70, which sure beats a $500 designer crib.

Bringing a new baby into your world is chaotic, stressful, and challenging at best. It's cool to see a push toward simplicity really catching on and making a difference.

Update 10/10/2017: Oops! The baby boxes come with laundry detergent as pictured, not dishwasher detergent. Sleep-deprived parents will understand how easy it is to make this mistake.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less