Calgary

Alberta parents of newborns get boxes filled with products, resources in Finnish-inspired program

A starter kit for parents of newborns that has been credited with reducing the infant mortality rate in Finland, where the program originated, is gaining traction in Alberta.

Similar boxes have been distributed in Finland since the 1930s

The baby box is also a portable bassinet. (Baby Box Co.)

A starter kit for parents of newborns that has been credited with reducing the infant mortality rate in Finland, where the program originated, is gaining traction in Alberta.

The Baby Box Company provides new and expecting mothers with a box that doubles as a bassinet, stuffed with baby products and educational brochures linking to local parenting resources.

The boxes are made of cardboard and lined with a mattress with a waterproof cover and fitted sheets in accordance with safe sleep guidelines.

The company launched its program in Alberta in November, distributing an estimated 7,000 baby boxes since then — although Alberta mothers have been receiving the kits as part of a parenting study out of the University of Calgary that began last January. That study is funded by the province and will end in June.

"Obviously it's worked. The tradition started in Finland, and they had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world, fast forward nearly 80 years and they have one of the lowest," Canadian program director Theresa Moore told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.

Baby boxes can be purchased on the company website, however Moore says the free initiative will be available across Canada by March.

"It's about supporting mom. Not just with a physical box, but in the resources we provide."

Various health and parenting resource locations have volunteered to distribute the boxes. Beginning Friday, they will also be handed out at the Okotoks Public Library.


With files from the Calgary Eyeopener

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