• This simple cardboard box becomes a baby's first bed. (The Baby Box Company)Source: The Baby Box Company
These simple cardboard boxes are saving babies lives.
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

1 Jul 2016 - 3:18 PM  UPDATED 1 Jul 2016 - 3:20 PM

A hospital in London is giving new parents cardboard boxes for their babies in an attempt to help prevent cot death.

The boxes, which are fitted with foam mattresses, are being handed out to parents at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in London, with plans to expand the scheme to other parts of the UK over the coming months, as part of a strategy to reduce the UK's high rate of infant mortality.

The idea comes from Finland, where expectant mothers have been given a baby box by the government for more than 75 years, and it has been gaining popularity around the world.

The box contains clothes, blankets and other baby essentials, but most importantly firm mattress-lined box is used as the child's bed for the first eight months of life.

It replaces the need for a cot, bassinet or Moses basket, and it is thought the small size of the box prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies, which experts think can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.

It also allows parents to keep their newborn baby close to them while they sleep, but not in their bed. 

These boxes and the education resources that sit alongside them have been proven to help reduce the infant mortality rate in Finland and we hope that these results could be replicated in the UK.

It is credited with helping reduce Finland's infant mortality rate from 65 deaths for every 1000 children born in 1938, to 2.5 deaths per 1000 births in 2015.

Dr Karen Joash, consultant obstetrician at Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital said the aim was to lower Britain's infant mortality rate of 4.19 deaths per 1000 births.

"These boxes and the education resources that sit alongside them have been proven to help reduce the infant mortality rate in Finland and we hope that these results could be replicated in the UK," she said in a statement.  

In Australia the most figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the infant mortality rate was 3.3 deaths per 1000 births in 2012.

In Australia online companies sell similar baby boxes for $89 to $99.

While there is yet to be a major hospital trial of the baby box, The Baby Box Co. has been distributing boxes through the Bundle of Life charity in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. 

"This is more than a box this is an opportunity for every baby to have a better start to life," said Bundle of Life.

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