Moms to be given Finnish-style baby boxes to reduce cot deaths, box comes with foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover, cotton sheet and other baby essentials

England , June 30: They’ve been hailed as the reason why Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. Now Finnish-style ‘baby boxes’ will be given to new mothers in England for the first time as part of a pilot aimed at reducing levels of cot deaths in the UK.

The sturdy cardboard boxes – which come complete with a foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover, cotton sheet and other baby essentials – are designed to be a baby’s first bed. The cosy boxes are designed for babies up to eight months old.

They will be handed to women who have their babies at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London. In Finland, the baby boxes were introduced in the 1930s when cot deaths were high – and it is thought their introduction contributed to the reduction in the infant mortality rate in the country.

The rate fell from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015. Initially the boxes were only given to low income mothers – before the scheme was expanded to include all families. They will be handed to women who have their babies at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London.

In Finland, the baby boxes were introduced in the 1930s when cot deaths were high – and it is thought their introduction contributed to the reduction in the infant mortality rate in the country.

The rate fell from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015.

Initially the boxes were only given to low income mothers – before the scheme was expanded to include all families.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust, which runs Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital will distribute 800 baby boxes to women on a first come first serve basis at the end of June.

Mothers will also be given education materials with advice from top experts on how to further reduce the risk of infant mortality.

As part of the pilot, the babies with the boxes will be monitored by the Trust until they are eight months old and their parents asked to fill out a questionnaire.

Dr Karen Joash, the consultant obstetrician at Imperial College Healthcare Trust, who is leading the baby box trial, said: ‘For too many years the UK has fallen behind its European counterparts when it comes to reducing infant mortality.

‘These boxes and the education resources that sit alongside them have been proven to help reduce the infant mortality rate in Finland.

‘We hope these results could be replicated in the UK.’

The baby box team at the Trust is made up of specialist midwives, breastfeeding consultants, psychologists and obstetricians.

The team will work with health visitors and other professionals to ensure the educational materials are tailored to the needs of the local population, it said.

Jennifer Clary, CEO of The Baby Box Co, which is supplying the baby boxes for free said: ‘We are delighted to provide the baby boxes to the Trust for UK parents and look forward to the results of the trial.’

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