Finland’s Answer to Infant Mortality: The Box
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