The Royal College of Midwives have come out in support of Scotland’s Baby Box scheme and recommend that this is rolled out across the UK.
In their Statement they say:
“Scotland has a Government funded universal scheme where all babies born receive a baby box. Midwives sign a form to confirm a woman’s pregnancy at around 24 weeks. If the woman wishes to receive the box, she sends in the form and the box is delivered from a central Government distribution point free of charge by 34 weeks of pregnancy. The boxes and their contents are designed by the Scottish Government and do not contain any marketing or corporate branding. The boxes contain some written public health information relating to perinatal mental health, safe sleep and infant feeding.
“There are more than 40 elements in the box – including a mattress for the box, a fitted sheet, blankets, muslins, an ear thermometer, a room and bath thermometer, a play mat, books and clothes for various ages and stages.
“An initial evaluation with parents and professionals following a six-month pilot in two areas gained very positive feedback about the contents and the response to the boxes .”
Gill Walton, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said:
“A baby box is a positive gift which signals that every baby is important and welcomed. Providing them will help many families whatever their background, and provide a more equal start to life for the baby.
“The Scottish baby box contains a number of very useful baby items that can support the health and wellbeing of new babies including an electronic thermometer, a baby carrying sling, a bath thermometer and a range of clothing.
“Most importantly by enabling parents to give their babies a safe sleeping space, baby boxes may reduce unsafe co-sleeping or babies sleeping in an inappropriate place such as a sofa.”
The statement goes on to point out the differences in the way the scheme has been taken up by some NHS Trusts in England.
” women may be asked to transport the boxes home themselves and in some areas, the boxes are provided flat packed and the parents are required to assemble the box. In other areas, the box is delivered to the woman’s home. However, in some areas this has involved a postage and packaging charge of around £7 to parents.”
It is not available in Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Conservatives in Scotland are against the Baby Box scheme in Scotland where every pregnant woman who applies for one through their midwife has a Box delivered to them. It led Aberdeen Tory councillor Claire Imrie to apply for one and say she would donate it to a foodbank as a protest against the universality of the scheme.
It is clear from the statement by the Royal College of Midwives that the universal provision approach by the Scottish Government, with quality products, advice and delivery to the mother is being recommended by them.
Reporter: Fiona Grahame