The hottest item on the celebrity baby shower circuit right now is a SNOO. Retailing for around $1,200, the SNOO has found a home with Beyonce and Jay Z, Mila and Ashton, Jessica and Justin, Kim and Khloe -- the list goes on. So what is it, and why should a benefit professional care?
First off, the SNOO is a crib. It was recently brought to market by Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician renowned for his Happiest Baby books and videos on parenting. SNOO is a “smart sleeper” built around the 5 S’s that Dr. Karp prescribes: swaddling, shushing, swinging, sucking and side position. The crib serves as a “virtual night nurse,” with benefits that include:
- Boosting babies sleep by 1-2+ hours using a womb-like motion and sound
- Responding automatically to calm fussing, oftentimes in less than a minute
- Training babies to be better sleepers
- Reducing incidences of SIDS by safely swaddling the baby to remain on the back
Now, what does this have to do with benefits? Activision Blizzard (AB), a 6,000-employee software entertainment company, was the first employer to launch SNOO as a company-sponsored perk early this year. Maternity and newborn costs have consistently been a top cost driver for AB’s younger demographic, with upwards of 250 babies born each year to AB employees. The company has done much to support their new parents in the workplace – through offering Ovia Health for fertility, maternity and parenting, Progyny for infertility, Milkstork for traveling moms, Rethink for developmental disabilities and Mothers at Work for lactation and return to work resources. So it was a natural for AB to add onto their robust suite of family support options to help babies and parents sleep better, thus improving productivity and reducing absenteeism and presenteeism issues. Lack of parental sleep has been tied to increased incidences of post-partum depression, anxiety and exhaustion. In fact, a growing number of university hospitals use SNOO to prevent and treat medical conditions associated with new parenthood and exhaustion, in particular postpartum depression.
The enterprise version of SNOO has a discounted daily rental fee that AB covers for the baby’s first 6 months. In the four months since the launch, 90 employees have received a SNOO. The response has been tremendous with unsolicited, positive feedback coming to the benefits team almost daily. For such a nominal cost over a 6 month period ($3.50/day), this helps AB remain an employer of choice and supports their initiative as a Great Place to Work for all.
If a SNOO helped Beyonce and Jay Z with their twins Rumi and Sir, it can help the moms and dads at your company, too. Why not treat your new parents and babies like the celebrities they are?
Consult with counsel about whether to provide this as a pre- or post-tax benefit.