Baby boxes are all the buzz at the moment, with the makeshift cardboard ‘cots’ packed with parenting supplies being rolled out across the UK. Traditionally, the boxes have a long-standing reputation for decreasing infant mortality – but are they actually safer than the standard cot, crib, or Moses basket?
The idea for the baby box was born nearly nine decades ago, when Finnish mums-to-be were gifted them on condition that they visit a doctor or municipal clinic for a prenatal check.
To date, Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world; in large part because of the emphasis on prenatal care, but also because placing newborns in the box to sleep prevents dangerous co-sleeping practices – a major risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
But does that mean the ‘cosy’ confines of a cardboard freebie are better than that costly crib you’ve just shelled out for?
The short answer is no.
Jenny Ward, Director of Services at Lullaby Trust, explains:
“The safest place for a baby to sleep is on a firm, flat, separate sleeping surface in the same room as their parents.
There is no evidence that a box is any safer than a standard Moses basket or cot.”
“Using a box of some sort may help families to follow this advice, and for the recommended 6 months.”
Basically, whatever you choose to use for your baby, the safety guidelines only refer to the sleep space being firm, flat, and in a separate part of the same room as the parents.
So feel free to splash out on the antique crib – or save the dough and wait for the box; it’s almost certain your little one will not give a monkey’s either way.