Taking a Page (or a Box) From Finland

Apparently, for the past 75 years Finland has had a program wherein every mother who gives birth, is given a “Baby Box” which is packed full of stuff for newborns including things you might not even know that you need, and the box itself is lined with a mattress and serves as a bassinet made from non-toxic materials. The idea is to give everyone a little bit of a head start no matter what your socioeconomic background. This program is credited in part for Finland’s exceptionally low infant mortality rate.

Baby Boxes
Baby Boxes

In a surprisingly pragmatic move, the Government of Alberta has initiated a pilot project to roll out these Baby Boxes to expectant mothers in Alberta from October 2016 to October 2017 (thanks to the late legend Manmeet Bhullar). Lucky for us, the twins expected date of birth falls right in the middle of that range so we decided to check it out.

The Government of Alberta (and presumably other jurisdictions) also use this as an opportunity to engage with soon-to-be parents. In order to earn your Baby Box in Alberta you must enrol in Baby Box University which consists of an online course complete with educational videos and quizzes. The objective is to impart some highly valuable basic knowledge about pregnancy, birth and newborns.

We completed our course work and picked up our Baby Boxes a couple of weeks ago and we are looking forward to trying them out. Janet was told that to date, she was the first person to pick up more than one box from our local distribution partner. It’s a great program and I hope to see it as a permanent fixture in Alberta and hopefully across the country.

I do have one criticism, the Baby Box pilot in Alberta could have done a better job of using the available space in the boxes, they were not nearly as generous as the Fins but then it seems that the Scandinavians are better at socialism than we are.

Why Finish Babies Sleep in Cardboard Boxes by the BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-22751415

Author: Kyle Maclean

IT Guy during the week, hunter, mountain biker, and snowboarder on the weekends. I was born and raised in Calgary and attended the U of C where I completed a Bachelors of Science in Computer Science. Shortly after graduating I got a job with Calgary Alternative Support Services as a Systems Analyst and I've been there ever since.

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