New Parents To Be Given Cardboard ‘Baby Boxes’ To Help Tackle Infant Mortality

New parents are to be given Finnish style ‘baby boxes’ for their newborns to sleep in [Photo: via Pexels]

New parents leaving hospital are normally sent home with a pack full of advice, some coupons for free nappies, oh and a baby of course. But now a hospital in London is gifting mums and dads a cardboard box for their newborn to sleep in.

Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital is carrying out the first UK trial of the tradition, which is part of a new strategy to help reduce cot death.

The so-called ‘baby boxes’ are popular in Finland, where they have been credited with cutting infant mortality rates from 65 per 1000 in 1938, to 2.3 in 2015. The UK currently has some of highest rates of infant mortality in Europe, ranking 22nd out of 50 European countries, with 4.19 deaths per 1,000 births.

Replacing the need for traditional Moses baskets, the boxes, made from thick cardboard, come with a foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover, cotton sheet and other newborn essentials, and can be used as a baby’s bed for up to eight months. It is believed the small size of the cosy box prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies, which experts think can contribute to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The boxes have been credited with reducing infant mortality in Finland [Photo: The Baby Box Co]

Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which runs Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital will distribute 800 baby boxes, provided by The Baby Box Co, to women on a first come first serve basis.

Mums will also be given education materials with advice from experts on how to further reduce the risk of infant mortality. Parents who are given an box will see their babies monitored by the Trust until they are eight months old and will then be asked to fill out a questionnaire about their experiences with the boxes.

Commenting on the trial, Louise Silverton, Director for midwifery at the Royal College of Midwives says: “This is an interesting idea and The RCM welcomes any commitment by the NHS or the UK Government that will give babies born in Britain the best possible start in life.”

It is hoped the scheme might help combat Cot Death [Photo: Instagram/thebabyboxcompany]

“Giving these baby boxes will help new parents particularly at a time when personal finances may be stretched. The actual baby box that parents will receive as part of this initiative will hopefully encourage parents to place babies on their back when putting them to sleep.”

Baby boxes first hit the headlines back in 2013 when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were sent a box by the Finnish government while Kate was pregnant with Prince George.

A spokesperson from the palace told the BBC at the time: “We were delighted to receive the very kind gift of the maternity package from the Finnish government. It was a very thoughtful gesture and we’re very grateful for it. I’m sure the duke and duchess will be very interested to see the contents.“

Well if it’s good enough for the Duchess…

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