Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — 2.52 for every 1,000 births versus Ireland’s 3.10 – and it’s apparently all down to the invention of their nifty yet practical ‘baby boxes.’ For the last 75 years, the country has been providing all mothers-to-be with a baby box, which comes with bedding, bathing products and clothing, including a snowsuit (for Finland’s harsh winters), while the box itself doubles up as a cot for babies to sleep in. Don’t be fooled; this is no regular box. It’s made from sturdy cardboard containing a foam mattress with a waterproof cover and a cotton sheet, expertly designed for newborns. It also comes filled with essentials to help new mums and dads adjust to the transition of parenthood with nappies, wet wipes clothing and over 40 other items for your newborn.
The boxes also come with educational materials with advice on how to reduce the risk of infant mortality and improve parental bonding. Forget spending a small fortune on hundreds of items and a baby cot or crib, as everything you need is in this one handy box. It’s been thought that the size of the box prevents infants from rolling onto their tummies which experts say can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.
According to The New York Times, the Finnish government gives away over 40,000 of the boxes each year. The programme started in the 1930s when the country set about trying to tackle their high mortality rate – one of out ten infants in Finland died in their first year, and so the boxes were a low-cost way to encourage women to set aside old habits and see a doctor during their pregnancy. To receive it, women must undergo a medical exam when they reach the fourth month of their pregnancy.
The success of the programme has meant that other countries are keen to try it out; the UK have recently started trialling the boxes.