The Baby Box scheme has landed in Kent! Pregnant parents across the region are being given a free box of goodies that also doubles up as a safe sleeping space for their new baby.
The sustainable boxes are made by the US-based Baby Box Company. They are being handed out as part of existing efforts to reduce cot deaths in the UK. Each box is made from durable cardboard, and comes with a firm foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover and a fitted cotton sheet.
Additionally, the box is filled with a variety of handy products, such as changing supplies and a baby grow, as well as useful information designed to help with newborn care.
Maidstone Hospital Birth Centre, Tunbridge Wells Maternity Unit and Crowborough Birth Unit will all be taking part in the scheme.
How do I get one?
To receive a free Baby Box, pregnant mums are being asked to complete the West Kent syllabus on www.babyboxuniversity.com, which provides parents with educational resources and an expert-guided support system.
Upon completion, each family will be issued with a certificate that they can then exchange for a free box.
For nearly 80 years, the boxes have been used in Finland as a stand-in for a traditional basket or crib during a baby’s first few months of life.
The Baby Box tradition has been credited with dramatically reducing the infant mortality rate in the country. Since the scheme’s introduction in 1938, infant deaths have fallen from 65 per 1,000 births to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015.
While the Baby Boxes are safe-certified infant sleep spaces, baby experts have been quick to point out that the boxes alone are not responsible for the drop in infant deaths.
Promoting safer sleep
Much of the reduction in infant deaths is down to better education among parents on the safest way to put their bay to sleep.
The Lullaby Trust, which promotes safe sleep information and supports bereaved families, has withdrawn its leaflets from the baby boxes and has issued new advice to parents. They state that they cannot endorse the product as there is currently no evidence to prove that they reduce the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The boxes are still certified as safe to use for their intended purpose.
“We will no longer allow our branded leaflets to be enclosed…as this suggests we endorse the product,” the charity said.
The Lullaby Trust says that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a Moses basket or cot, with a firm, flat mattress that is in good condition and protected by a waterproof cover.
However, the baby boxes are likely to play an important role in situations where a parent is unable to provide a safe sleeping place for their newborn.
Despite improvement in education, the UK still has some of highest rates of infant mortality in Europe, with 4.19 deaths per 1,000 births.
For more information on preventing SIDS, visit: www.lullabytrust.org.uk