Are fancy cribs becoming obsolete in favor of utilitarian baby boxes? While we’re sure companies crafting those gorgeous beds for babies shouldn’t start sweating too much, the baby box trend is certainly making waves the whole world over. We’ve got the Finnish to thank for this tradition: since the 1930’s the government of Finland has given boxes filled with baby essentials to new moms. The baby boxes come with mattresses, which fit perfectly inside the box and turn it into baby’s first bed. This no-waste bed eventually gets a second life as a storage box (perhaps for all those baby keepsakes), but its primary use as a portable, functional bed is credited as part of the reason behind Finland’s impressively low infant mortality rate.
Image via The Baby Box Company
Sensing that basically anything baby-centric has a prime, fertile market, companies in Finland, the U.S., and the UK began creating their own version of baby boxes to sell and ship all over the world. In addition to selling these boxes privately, several of the companies are partnering up with non-profits and government agencies to provide them for free to families who may be in need. U.S. based Baby Box Company has programs to provide free baby boxes launching in 12 different countries as well as 20 different states. One of the best parts about these baby boxes is that they can be modified to serve the varied needs of diverse communities. The planned Thula Baby Box project in South Africa has even toyed with the idea of using a plastic box to double as a bath instead of a bed. In India, the box contains a mosquito net to prevent malaria and a kit to help prevent infection after the delivery. Pilot programs in cities such as Calgary and Fort Worth will provide companies and researchers with information as to best distribute the boxes and if they can have a positive effect on infant mortality rates. In addition to the nuts-and-bolts baby necessities that the boxes will be providing, another component found in the boxes may be a critical and effective element to the baby box phenomenon: education. From the “crib side assistance” booklets written for fathers that will be included in the Canadian boxes, to the trial that showed that the Thula Box served as an incentive for mothers to make antenatal visits earlier and more frequently, baby boxes provide a useful yet unobtrusive way to give new parents a helping hand –and double as a safe place for babies to sleep. We’re all for anything that makes the transition to parenthood easier, and baby boxes will hopefully make it easier for moms and dads to worry less about nursery furniture and focus more on their new little love.
Lead image via The Baby Box Company’s Facebook Page