‘Forget the cradle, put the baby in a box,’ say the Finns…

Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, will be passing on some Finnish-wisdom to mothers who have babies in their care – sending them home with Baby Boxes for their newborn to sleep in as part of the first ever UK trial.

The Baby Box tradition, which originates from Finland, has been credited with reducing the infant mortality rate in the country from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015. The UK has some of highest rates of infant mortality in Europe, ranking 22nd out of the 50 European countries with 4.19 deaths per 1,000 births.

The boxes, which are made from a very thick cardboard, are traditionally used in Finland as a baby’s bed for up to the first eight months of their life. Replacing need for the traditional Moses basket or cot, it is thought the small size of the Baby Box prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies which experts think can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.

The Trust will distribute 800 Baby Boxes, which also come with a firm foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover, cotton sheet and education materials, to new mums who have their baby at Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, on a first come first serve basis. As part of the trial the babies who received the boxes will be monitored by the Trust until they are eight months old and their parents asked to fill out a questionnaire about their use of the Baby Box.

Dr Karen Joash, consultant obstetrician at the 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 have been proven to help reduce the infant mortality rate in Finland and we hope that these results could be replicated in the UK.”

Jennifer Clary, the CEO from The Baby Box Co., which is supplying the Trust with the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships for participating parents said, “We are delighted to provide the Baby Boxes to the Trust for UK parents and look forward to the results of the trial.”

The Baby Box co’s boxes retail at around $69 including mattress, and they come in a variety of cute Scandi-chic designs. Ideally, they should be positioned next to the parents’ bed when the baby is sleeping and – if they survive eight months of vomit, projectile peeing and the many other thrills and spills of those early months – then they could be re-purposed as a nifty toy box.

Interesting reading? Find out more at BabyBoxco.uk