Cardboard boxes that can be used as a crib for newborns are to be delivered to new mums in Scotland from today.
The boxes also contain a mattress, clothes and books. The Scottish government says the scheme will help ensure all babies are given the best start in life.
They have been credited with keeping rates of Sudden Infant Deaths (SIDs) low in Finland.
However last week cot death charity the Lullaby Trust said there was no proof the baby boxes help reduce SIDs.
Lynsay Allan, executive director of the Scottish Cot Death Trust, said: “I am encouraged by the fact that Scotland’s baby box scheme is prompting parents to think about their sleeping practices.
“While the proven safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot, crib or Moses basket, I also recognise that the box can be used as a safe sleep space for newborn babies, particularly where families may have no alternative and where they might otherwise unsafely share their bed or sleep on a sofa or chair with their baby.”
Expectant mums due to give birth on or after 15 August have been able to register to receive their baby box at midwife appointments since June.
The boxes will be sent to the mother’s home address or another preferred location from today.
From January of next year, the baby boxes will be delivered at least four weeks before the baby’s due date.
Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Greenwood, said the boxes would also offer healthcare professionals a unique opportunity to introduce expectant parents to a wide range of health promotion information.
Professor Russell Viner, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said child health in Scotland was among the worst in western Europe. About 400 infants, children and young people dying each year.
But he said evidence into the effectiveness of baby boxes in reducing child mortality was “limited”.
What do you think of the baby box scheme? Would you like to have received one as a new mum?
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