Concerns raised over cardboard baby boxes

Scottish Government baby box.
Scottish Government baby box.
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Concerns have been raised over a lack of evidence on the safety of cardboard baby boxes.

There is a “scarcity” of observational evidence that such sleeping items can be used safely, according to a letter published in The BMJ.

Baby boxes have become popular in Britain – a number of NHS trusts offer them to new mothers as well as private companies.

The Scottish Government made them available to all new mothers last year and an average of 1,000 per week were delivered to parents of newborns in the first year of the programme, representing an uptake of 85 per cent.

The idea of the boxes originates from Finland.

The authors of the letter, including academics and Francine Bates, chief executive of the safe sleep charity the Lullaby Trust, said that the use of the baby box in Finland and the relatively low rates of cot death - also known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) - in the country are “not evidence that the boxes reduce SIDS”. Cot death rates in Sweden and Denmark are equally low, despite them not traditionally providing the boxes, the article adds.

The authors also raised concerns over fears the promotion of the boxes could undermine current messages about safe sleeping for babies.