Scotland hopes this Finnish idea will give babies an equal start in life

The contents of the Finnish baby box. The brightly coloured cardboard box doubles as a cot, complete with mattress and sheets, and contains numerous baby items.
Image: AP Photo/Lehtikuva, Roni Rekomaa

LONDON All babies born in Scotland are to receive a cardboard box full of essential items for newborns, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The scheme which has been in place in Finland for over 75 years involves giving expectant mothers a starter kit of clothes, sheets, diapers, toys, and a cardboard box that doubles as a cot.

“We promised a baby box of all essential items for all newborns. Its a policy borrowed from Finland where its contributed to the lowest rates of child mortality in the world,” Sturgeon announced at her partys conference in Glasgow.

Im delighted to give you an update on our plans to introduce it here. Next month well launch a competition in partnership with the V&A [museum] in Dundee for the design of the box,” Sturgeon continued.

The first boxes will be delivered to newborn babies in pilot areas on New Year’s Day, Sturgeon announced.

The boxes which were first given to Finnish babies in 1938 are designed to give children from all backgrounds an equal start in life.

“The baby box is a powerful symbol of our belief that all children should start life on a level playing field,” said Sturgeon.

The boxes which come complete with a mattress double up as a baby’s first bed, something which is believed to the reason for Finland’s low infant mortality rate.

Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls.

“I don’t know about you, but as a first foot offering, I think that beats a lump of coal!” Sturgeon added.

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