Baby Box Success in Orkney

“Scotland’s Baby Box is a strong signal of our determination that every child, regardless of their circumstances, should get the best start in life,”(Nicola Sturgeon, FM of Scotland)

The pilot scheme for the Scottish Government’s Baby Box initiative has been hailed as a great success in Orkney. The boxes contain a range of essential items such as clothes, books and blankets and are also suitable to sleep in. This summer every new born child in Scotland will be gifted a Baby Box following the success of the  three-month pilot in Orkney and Clackmannanshire.

One mother told researchers she had learned about the importance of using breathable blankets while other parents said they believe the box is a safe sleeping place for a variety of reasons including:

  • it comes with cellular blankets rather than fleeces
  • inclusion of a brand new mattress
  • size of the box, which is larger than a Moses basket but smaller than a cot
  • simplicity of the sleep space making it suitable for small babies

During a visit to Orkney to meet parents involved, Minister for Childcare and Early Years for the Scottish Government, Mark McDonald said:

Mark McDonald MSP

Mark McDonald Minister for Childcare and Early Years (photo ScotGov)

“It is fantastic to hear the Baby Box is encouraging parents to think about safe sleeping practices. We want all parents to make the choice that is right for them when choosing where their baby sleeps.”

“We’ve had feedback from parents confirming that they would have used the box as a sleep space if they had known it would be included in the pilot and hadn’t already purchased an alternative. And some parents taking part in the pilot commented on the perceived culture barrier of putting their baby in the box but have been positive about it once they tried it out for themselves.”

“We have also had consistently positive feedback about the high quality of the Baby Box contents. These preliminary findings are extremely promising and we will use the lessons learnt throughout the pilot period to proactively address any concerns or queries parents may have about using the box ahead of its national roll-out this summer.”

Infant mortality rates Finland

Infant Mortality in Finland (Statistics Finland)

The Baby Boxes were first introduced in Finland where alarming infant mortality rates of 65 out of every 1000 babies dying caused a rethink on how to care for young babies.

The Baby Boxes in Finland have been used for 75 years and along with other measures have been an astounding success. They are now used in several countries and US states.

The Baby Boxes in Scotland will be gifted to all babies born in Scotland regardless of income.  In some countries  parents have to buy the boxes but the initiative by the Scottish Government will be free to all babies. The items in the boxes are for various stages in the baby’s development. A poem is also included from Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay.

 Welcome Wee One

O ma darlin wee one
At last you are here in the wurld
And wi’ aa your wisdom
Your een bricht as the stars,
You’ve filled this hoose with licht,
Yer trusty wee haun, your globe o’ a heid,
My cherished yin, my hert’s ain!

O my darlin wee one
The hale wurld welcomes ye:
The mune glowes; the hearth wairms.
Let your life hae luck, health, charm,
Ye are my bonny blessed bairn,
My small miraculous gift.
I never kent luve like this.



The Design of the Baby Box

Baby Box

Baby box (Photo Scot Gov)

The winning design for the national roll-out of Scotland’s Baby Box is a forest fairy tale scene complete with Highland cows, squirrels and the Loch Ness Monster.It will feature on boxes to be given to every new-born until March 2019.Graphic Design student Leanne Young from Edinburgh Napier University received a prize of £1,000 and exclusive mentoring from leading Scottish designers Holly Fulton and Scott Jarvie.

Reporter: Fiona Grahame



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