NORFOLK, Va. — Virginia parents are expected to receive more than 100,000 free baby boxes and postpartum supplies over the next year through a new initiative.

Local news outlets report the state Social Services department and Virginia Commonwealth University announced the program Wednesday to reduce the number of sleep-related infant deaths. Modeled after an idea introduced during the 1930s in Finland, it’ll provide babies a safe sleeping place for parents without a crib or bassinet.

Department family services director Carl Ayers says the distributor is California-based Baby Box Co.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 3,500 U.S. babies a year die in sleep-related incidents. Virginia had 57 during the most recent fiscal year.

Alabama, Ohio, Texas and Colorado also launched baby box initiatives since New Jersey first did January.

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