Can Baby Boxes Cut Infant Mortality?

Baby BoxFinland has the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, and they attribute this success to their Finnish baby boxes. Yup – boxes.  All expectant mothers in Finland receive a cardboard box with a small mattress that fits right into the bottom of the box.  These “Starter Kits” are filled with infant clothes, sheets, bibs, sleeping bag, and bathing supplies, and the state gives these to mothers before they take their babies home from the hospitals.  Because these baby boxes are so easy to move around, parents can place them on the floor next to their beds or carry them from room to room with ease.  The babies can bond with their parents without the danger of being suffocated when placed next to parents while they sleep.

These Finnish baby boxes originated in the 1930’s but today they are popping up all over the world. In India and Southeast Asia, baby boxes include clean-birth kits to prevent infection during and after delivery.  They even include mosquito netting to protect the infants against malaria.  Governments around the world are providing these low-cost baby boxes for low-income families. 

The infants feel more secure because the box is the perfect size for newborn babies.  I always thought it was odd that we place our newborn infants in their cribs down the hall in their bedrooms.  That certainly doesn’t help with bonding and the enormous space in the crib probably feels like a football field to the infant.  These baby boxes give them the sense of security with the 4 walls just inches away.  Parents get a better night sleep and don’t have to jump out of bed to run down the hall to check on the baby every time she cries.  Clever idea!Baby Box