New parents in Scotland are to be given baby boxes under new SNP plans.
The boxes are supposed to be similar to the Nordic-style baby boxes which see all families of a new baby provided with an essential starter pack.
Inside a sturdy cardboard box are things like clothes, toys and nappies as well as a small built-in mattress so that the baby can sleep in the box for the first few weeks of its life. The scheme is hoped to reduce infant mortality rates in Scotland, helping to ‘improve the chances of some of our most deprived children’ according to Nicola Sturgeon.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon added: ‘The baby box is such a simple idea but has been proven to have a real impact, reducing child mortality and helping families at the start of a child’s life.
‘By providing every newborn with a baby box we can help child health – and by providing greater support to new families we will also help tackle child poverty and improve the chances of some of our most deprived children.’
On top of the baby boxes, the greater support Nicola Sturgeon talks about is her pledge to provide a further 500 health visitors and a policy to check up on toddlers at 30 months.
Baby boxes have been part of Finland’s ‘maternity package’ for over 80 years now, and it’s estimated that over 95% of mothers take up the offer of the baby box. This one policy has been credited for cutting Finnish infant death rates from 10% to 0.2%.
The SNP boxes would cost roughly £100 each to give to new parents, but it’s not yet been made clear whether these will be targeted at the poorest families or be made available to everyone.
This latest move comes just weeks after a pilot project was announced that will see about 600 boxes being given to all women who give birth at Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in London in the next few months.
Some of our readers felt that baby boxes should target those in the poorest areas, with Lisa Thomson commenting: ‘Great idea but I strongly feel these should be means tested and targeted to needy families so the benefit can be most realised.’
Others however thought that it was unfair that only Scotland and a select few in London would get the boxes, and not the UK as a whole. Lesley Cozens said, ‘I think it’s a very good idea BUT shouldn’t it be for every new mum in the UK as a whole, considering we all pay the same taxes bit unfair to single out certain parts of the country, Scotland & hospitals in London, I wonder if the SNP would be so generous if they became independent from the rest of the UK and therefore wouldn’t be receiving the very generous funding they get now.’
What do you think of the idea of baby boxes? Let us know in the comments below.