For the last 75 years, Finland’s government has provided a unique service to new parents.
As part of an effort to ensure that every child born in the country has an equal start in life, a box loaded with everything moms and dads need to care for the newest member of their family is made available to them. From clothes and diapers, to snacks and books–it has it all, for free. The actual box the items come in even includes a tiny mattress so that it can double as a crib for the first part of the baby’s life. It’s proven so effective, the program has been credited with lowering Finland’s infant mortality to rates among the lowest in the world.
Well you know what, Canada? We’re about to churn out some baby boxes of our own.
The Alberta government recently committed to funding Welcome to Parenthood–Alberta, it’s a project created to support families as they transition into caregivers. It helps hook up new parents with mentors, and, among other things, supplies them with their very own baby box. It has all the same stuff as the Finnish version–a sleeper, onesie, shampoo, thermometer, foam mattress and so forth, and distribution has already begun.
“Currently the US infant mortality rate is 3X that of Finland’s and the Canadian infant mortality rate is 2.5X that of Finland’s,” a report from the University of Calgary reads. “It is accepted that the Baby Box tradition has helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.”
Experts, as a result, are now trying to bring some of that success over here.
Canadian baby boxes will be supplied through a company called, well, The Baby Box Company. It promises all of its products contain no mercury, lead, heavy metals, formaldehyde or BPA. The products are also eco-friendly. Additionally, these kits can be customized the meet the needs of parents living in different areas (gas cards in rural communities, for example).
For now though, the boxes are only available in Alberta through the Welcome to Parenthood project. But if all goes well, we can’t see why governments wouldn’t consider expanding it (although there’s been no official word on that front just yet).
As far as Alberta goes though, parenting just got a little bit easier.