Finland’s Answer to Infant Mortality: The Box

Finland’s Answer to Infant Mortality: The Box Picture

Since 1938, expectant moms in Finland have received a motherhood starter kid from the government of Finland; the maternity box. Inside the box are clothes, sheets, toys, and even a tiny mattress so the box can double as baby’s first crib.

Before you recoil in disgust at the thought of your own little sweetie sleeping in a box, Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. The box is intended to be the great equalizer in Finnish society. That tiny box gives every child, no matter what financial circumstances, social background, religion or who their parents are the same start in life; a chance.

The box contains everything a baby needs to get started on the right foot in that first year. It’s truly a parenthood starter kit; just add baby and an interested parent. The box is offered to every expectant mother in Finland or she can take a grant of 140 euros. More times than not, the expectant moms take the box because it is worth a lot more.

Now, new legislation requires that any expectant mother who wants the coveted maternity box or the grant must first visit a doctor or prenatal clinic by the fourth month of pregnancy. This will ensure that more expectant mothers are getting the prenatal care they and their babies need; hopefully, lowering the infant mortality rate even further.

I know in our technologically advanced world where the more complicated, fancy, and high-tech a product is the more coveted and sought after it is. Simple seems counterintuitive. But maybe the best place for your infant to rest her weary head lies some place between a new fangled crib with all the bells and whistles and co-sleeping; in a box!

How can a small, simple box compete with the newest, fanciest, largest crib on the market? Simple – the end goal is keeping your precious baby alive and the box is proven to do this. There are no pieces to break off, no bumper to smother her, and no 6-inch deep mattress for her to get wedged between and suffocate. The box is simply a place for the baby to rest. It’s no different than a bassinette, only simpler.

What do you think of Finland’s maternity box?

Image via Kela / Annika Söderblom 

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What do you think?

Finland’s Answer to Infant Mortality: The Box

Deborah Cruz, @TruthfulMommy, is the creator of The TRUTH about Motherhood, an often humorous and brutally honest look at motherhood. She's a writer, a wife, and a work-at-home Mommy who's trying to do it all well. She live in the Midwest with her 2 little girls and her husband. She has a lot of degrees from a bunch of schools but mostly spends her days shuttling people under the age of 7, while trying to maintain her sanity and she wouldn't have it any other way. She talks a lot. She ... More

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6 comments

  1. Denise says:

    Wow, that is so awesome! This should be done here in the US, to many mothers out there struggling to make it and give their kids the world.

  2. The problem is it would be dubbed a hand out and seen as socialism then spun by politicians to not be a good thing. We could not do this in the U.S. because of the Republican party would be outraged at the thought of another hand out to the poor.

  3. Tricia says:

    I think we could do that here in the US, if we were willing to save our children’s baby clothes and donate them to a hospital or the like

  4. nydia rivera says:

    I think it’s awesome!!

  5. PaulaPC says:

    I like this idea. It gives the less fortunate quite a few less things to worry about. You never really know what something so simple as a box of necessities could do. Maybe it’ll keep a mom from selling herself on a street or losing an apartment. For any mom this would be a huge boost for help. I wish we had it here in the US.

  6. KaelinRae says:

    I think that this is an excellent way for a government to not only help expectant mothers who need it, but also to show an interest in the future of its citizens. They can at least start all new children off right, thought the rest is up to the parents. 🙂

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