What is a baby box? Simply baby boxes contain essential items such as clothes, books and blankets that are delivered to new mothers. The cardboard boxes also include a mattress and can be used for babies to sleep in as an alternative to a crib.
After a successful pilot in Orkney and Clackmannanshire, the Scottish government, is for the first time making the baby box available to all expecting mothers and hopes the boxes will help ensure every baby is given the best possible start in life.
Baby boxes are already given out by some health authorities in other parts of the UK.
We got in touch with the British Baby Box to ask for some top tips on how to use baby boxes safely.
Ten tips on how to use baby boxes
- Keep it simple. It’s very important that your baby box remains an uncluttered space. No soft toys, bumpers, blankets or pillows should be used.
- Bring baby into the bedroom – but not the bed! Baby boxes should be placed next to the parents’ bed, keeping the baby in the same room as parents.
- Read up. Educate yourself about safe sleeping guidelines. We provide educational materials for parents in every box sold.
- Make sure the box is placed on a solid surface and cannot topple over.
- Do not put the box on an under-heated floor.
- Put your baby to sleep on their back.
- Keep pets away from the box.
- Do not lift or carry the box around your home if the baby is in it.
- Do not put the lid on the box if your baby is in it. Sounds like common sense but you would be amazed how many people ask us this question!
- Make sure you comply with any instructions relating to maximum age and weight.
It might sound odd to tell new mums to put their precious bundle to bed in what is essentially a cardboard box but baby boxes have been used in Finland for more than 80 years and in that time infant mortality rates have dropped considerably.
This is partly to do with the provision of a safe, uncluttered place for a baby to sleep and also to do with the portable, streamlined design of the box which makes it easier for parents to have close by without risking co-sleeping.
We want to inform and educate British parents on the idea and our company has created a range of options to make the concept affordable and accessible to all.
We are also currently working with experts to help with the creation of a British safety standard for baby boxes.
We are mothers first and businesswomen second so we know that parents require more than conjecture when it comes to baby safety. This benchmark will help us to provide that extra level of reassurance.
The history behind the British Baby Box
When Sarah Simons and Susan Purse first met at the gates of their children’s preschool, it was clear they were going to become lifelong friends.
But they had little idea that this meeting would also lead to them forming an incredibly successful baby brand.
So successful in fact that a year after British Baby Box was formed it has secured partnerships with some of the world’s biggest charities and is set to appear on the shelves at one of the UK’s biggest supermarkets.
This phenomenal story begun when the pair, who are based in the tiny village of Dedham, decided to introduce a traditional Finnish concept to parents in the UK.
“Since 1938 mothers in Finland have been gifted a Baby Box which serves as a baby’s first bed. And in the 80 years the Finnish Baby Box project has been running, studies have shown that putting a baby to sleep in a Baby Box rather than a cot or Moses’ basket can help reduce the causes associated with sudden infant death syndrome.”
In fact, the state Baby Box programme in Finland is widely believed to have been a significant factor in reducing the country’s infant mortality rate to the 5th lowest in the world.
This was the predominant reason the concept appealed to Susan and Sarah, neither of which could understand why the product was not widely available in the UK.
Susan in particular, had a very personal reason for wanting to champion it in Britain. Her fourth child was stillborn and while she finds this extremely difficult to talk about, it has shaped decisions she has made in a number of areas of her life.
It led to her and her husband fostering a number of children and choosing to adopt their youngest. It has also become a driving force behind British Baby Box itself. After all, the company is designed to support all new mothers and offers a range of packages to make the Baby Box affordable to all.
It’s also sensitive enough to know that protecting babies is a process that begins at conception – supporting the charity Kicks Count as well as the Lullaby Trust and providing leaflets from both inside their product packages.
Informing and supporting new mums has become a significant part of the marketing strategy for British Baby Box which has resulted in it attracting a great deal of interest since it launched.
A lot of this has been the result of a hugely successful three-month pilot scheme in Clackmannanshire and Orkney introduced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who wanted to introduce a Baby Box project in Scotland to replicate that of Finland.
It was met with much enthusiasm and has led to a £6 million a year investment in the product that will mean all newborn children in Scotland will receive one from this summer onwards.
“This has caused a surge in demand for the boxes elsewhere in the UK and in the last 12 months we have supplied an incredible 30,000 Baby Box products to new mums.”
Susan and Sarah who see themselves as “mothers first and businesswomen second” – an ethos has allowed them to connect with their target market, making them accessible and approachable.
Their ability as expert saleswoman has come as something of a surprise to the pair who, although they believed in their product wholeheartedly, anticipated a battle to convince people of its merit.
“We really believed that telling new mums to put their precious bundle to bed in what is essentially a cardboard box was going to be a hard sell,” said Sarah. “But clearly we needed to have more faith in ourselves.”
“Baby Boxes are not just a hot parenting trend. We want them to become a staple in British families – helping parents from all different backgrounds to start their newborn journey with confidence.”
Find out more about British Baby Box at www.britishbabybox.com
Where to next
Read more about caring for your new baby