'Misrepresented' baby boxes ahead of Scotland launch

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Can babies' safety be guaranteed? Can babies' safety be guaranteed?

The makers of a Finnish-inspired ‘baby box’ have pushed back against ‘misrepresentations’ in the press which paint them as a one-stop solution to prevent cot death.

In Finland, every new mother is given a box filled with items for their baby and the box may be used for babies to sleep in. It has been claimed to help reduce rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

READ MORE: Safety 'paramount' in baby box cot death concerns

Amid concerns from the Lullaby Trust – who specialise in cot death – that the boxes don’t actually have a positive impact on SIDS occurrences, box makers Baby Box Co have said that press misinformation is painting the boxes as a catch-all solution, when the company claims this should never be considered the case.

‘Oftentimes the media misrepresents the baby box tradition as a one-stop-shop solution, equating simple provision of a bed box with improvements in maternal and child health outcomes,’ said Baby Box Co CEO Jennifer Clary.

‘What the success of Finland’s results actually demonstrates is the significance of parenting education, engaging prenatal intervention and accessible community support. Every mother in Finland must visit a healthcare professional by her second trimester to receive a check-up and vital education before being eligible to claim the free box.

READ MORE: Scotland to introduce baby boxes for every baby

‘Our programme is designed to pay homage to the Finnish model.’

Baby boxes are due to be introduced for every baby born in Scotland after 15 August. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) previously said that baby boxes are not an ideal solution but that some parents may find them useful when they cannot afford a crib or Moses basket.

‘An important aspect of preventing this tragedy is to ensure babies sleep on their backs and do not roll over onto their tummies,’ said an RCM spokesperson. ‘Some parents may not have a suitable and safe place for their baby to sleep in this way.

‘We would recommend parents use a cot or a Moses basket for their baby but we are aware that this may not be an affordable option for many families and baby boxes could help to fill this gap.

READ MORE: UK stillbirth rate falls but 'still much more to do'

‘The design of baby boxes helps to ensure that babies remain in a safe position when asleep, but their use must be seen as one part of a wider package of support for new parents which includes education about safe sleeping before and after the birth and good postnatal support and advice.’

While the Lullaby Trust has insisted that it is not possible to make baby boxes comply with the safety standards applied to more conventional sleeping apparatus, Baby Box Co said their boxes meet all current UK and EU expectations.

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