Finnish-inspired baby boxes were launched in the UK in 2016, and continue to be rolled out to NHS trusts across the country.
Baby boxes are based on a project that has been running in Finland for nearly 100 years and they include must-have essentials for new parents. The design means that some experts believe they could reduce the infant mortality rate in the UK, so it's no wonder parents want to know more about the Finnish baby box.
The boxes are a great help for expectant parents who may be overwhelmed with everything they need to get for their baby, and also a way to make sure babies have a bed to sleep in when they're taken home.
Parents in Finland have been using the box and small mattress as the baby's first bed for decades, but the trend has been spreading to other countries in recent years, and now it's been introduced in UK hospitals.
The first baby box UK launch began in June 2016 and saw boxes handed out to new mothers at Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital in London. Since then the initiative has gone on to launch programmes in other parts of the UK like Greater Manchester, North Middlesex, Limerick Maternity Hospital Ireland, Halton Borough, Colchester Hospital.
In August 2017, it was announced that baby boxes would be rolled out in Scotland, following successful trials in Orkney and Clackmannanshire.
Where can I get a baby box?
Baby boxes are available to be handed out to new parents at certain hospitals across the UK. Each hospital's board makes the decision whether to take part in the scheme individually so you will need to check with your preferred hospital.
Apart from the hospitals that are currently involved in the pilot scheme, baby boxes are also available to be purchased from several businesses.
The leading baby box supplier is Baby Box Co., they are currently working with the NHS to supply certain hospitals. On their website you can purchase your own box to be shipped straight to your home.
Can I buy a baby box?
Yes, you can buy a baby box straight from the Baby Box Co. if your hospital isn't providing one for free. They're available to order from their website (opens in new tab).
The Bed box is Baby Box Co's cheaper option, for £56.13
How much are baby boxes?
Currently there are five baby box options on the Baby Box Co website. They range from £55 - £180 and offer a selection of products within each depending on what you're looking for.
The most basic offering will provide you with somewhere for your baby to sleep, complete with mattress and sheets with a guide and tips for parenting. As the boxes get more expensive they begin to include clothes, washcloths, bibs and a thermometer. The most highly priced baby box provides you with much of what you need when bringing a new baby home including shampoo and body wash, a diaper pack, burp cloths and everything previously mentioned.
What's in a baby box?
Each baby box contains different items, but this is the full list of what your box could include:
- Baby box and lid
- Fitted baby mattress
- Cotton sheet
- Zipper bag
- Membership to the Baby Box University
- Axillary Thermometer
- Terry cloth bibs
- Organic washcloths
- Organic burpcloths
- Newborn cap
- Shampoo and body wash
- Diaper pack
- Organic wooden teether
Are baby boxes safe?
The Baby Box Co state that all their baby boxes 'meet or exceed all applicable tenets of the CPSC, Health Canada and EN standards'.
Plus, the premise behind the boxes is that they lower mortality rates in infants and have had great success at doing this in Finland.
Dr Karen Joash, consultant obstetrician at Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust, who is leading the trial at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea in East Acton, said: 'For too many years the UK has fallen behind its European counterparts when it comes to reducing infant mortality. These boxes have been proven to help reduce the infant mortality rate in Finland and we hope that these results could be replicated in the UK.'
In August 2017, charity the Lullaby Trust withdrew their leaflets from boxes as they said there was no evidence that baby boxes reduced the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (opens in new tab).
'We will no longer allow our branded leaflets to be enclosed... as this suggests we endorse the product,' a statement read at the time.
Francine Bates, chief executive of the Lullaby Trust, explained during an appearance on BBC Radio 5 live of Finland's 'fantastic' record: 'The fact that they give a box out to every family may be a factor but we can't say that definitively.'
Kate and Wills were offered a baby box before Prince George's birth
However, at the time that the boxes were introduced in Scotland, Lynsay Allan, executive director of the Scottish Cot Death Trust, told the BBC: 'I am encouraged by the fact that Scotland's baby box scheme is prompting parents to think about their sleeping practices.'
'While the proven safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot, crib or Moses basket, I also recognise that the box can be used as a safe sleep space for newborn babies, particularly where families may have no alternative and where they might otherwise unsafely share their bed or sleep on a sofa or chair with their baby.'
What do you think of Finnish baby boxes being introduced in the UK? Let us know in the comments section below!
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