I want my baby box!
For more than 75 years, Finland's expectant mothers have been given a Baby Box by the state that serves as a starter kit for their new baby. It contains clothes, blankets, and other newborn necessities, and the Baby Box itself--which is lined with a mattress--is used as the child's first bed.
At a glance, it seems a strange place to put a newborn - a bit of bedding and a miniature sleeping bag arranged in a cardboard box.
Even so, that is the first place that many Finnish infants lay their little heads. And the simple set-up is believed to be one reason that Finland now has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world - 2.52 for every 1,000 births, less than half that of the United States.
The programme started in the late 1930s, when nearly one out of 10 infants in Finland died in their first year. The boxes were a low- cost way to encourage women, especially those at the bottom of the income ladder, to see a doctor during pregnancy, whether they felt ill or not. The boxes provided a safe place outside of parents' beds for infants to sleep, in homes that might have only rudimentary furniture. With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby's first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box's four cardboard walls.
*Items in box for illustration only.
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