Why Finnish Babies Sleep in Cardboard Boxes


For 75 years, the Finnish national government has provided newborn babies with a cardboard box containing essential baby care gear, such as diapers and clothes. The box itself comes with a thin mattress that permits it to serve as a bed.

Although the program was originally for poor families, in 1949, it was extended to every baby in the country. Because mothers could register for a box only after visiting a doctor, some people say that it's one of the reasons why Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

The baby box has become an icon of Finnish culture, experienced by the entire nation. Helena Lee of the BBC writes:

At 75 years old, the box is now an established part of the Finnish rite of passage towards motherhood, uniting generations of women.

Reija Klemetti, a 49-year-old from Helsinki, remembers going to the post office to collect a box for one of her six children.

"It was lovely and exciting to get it and somehow the first promise to the baby," she says. "My mum, friends and relatives were all eager to see what kind of things were inside and what colours they'd chosen for that year."

Link -via Marginal Revolution

(Photo: Milla Kontkanen

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I was born in 74. The hospital I was born at used these disposable bassinets fitted on metal carts in the nursery and then sent newborns home in the box. My parents continued to use it at home until I was about at month and then upgraded to a full size crib. By the time my sister was born three years later they not longer used them and were replaced with the Lucite bassinets most Americans are familiar with.
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