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Baby boxes raise safety awareness

Published: 13 Apr 2017 10:22

Preliminary evaluation of use as sleeping space.

Scotland’s Baby Box scheme is helping to raise awareness of safe sleeping practices, according to early evaluation findings.

The boxes will be gifted to every new born child in Scotland from this summer following a three-month pilot in Orkney and Clackmannanshire. They contain a range of essential items such as clothes, books and blankets and are also suitable to sleep in.

Parents taking part so far were asked for their views on the box, how they use it and its contents.

One mother told researchers she had learned about the importance of using breathable blankets while other parents said they believe the box is a safe sleeping place for a variety of reasons including:

  • it comes with cellular blankets rather than fleeces
  • inclusion of a brand new mattress
  • size of the box, which is larger than a Moses basket but smaller than a cot
  • simplicity of the sleep space making it suitable for small babies

During a visit to Orkney to meet parents involved, Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said:

“It is fantastic to hear the Baby Box is encouraging parents to think about safe sleeping practices. We want all parents to make the choice that is right for them when choosing where their baby sleeps.

“We’ve had feedback from parents confirming that they would have used the box as a sleep space if they had known it would be included in the pilot and hadn’t already purchased an alternative. And some parents taking part in the pilot commented on the perceived culture barrier of putting their baby in the box but have been positive about it once they tried it out for themselves.

“We have also had consistently positive feedback about the high quality of the Baby Box contents. These preliminary findings are extremely promising and we will use the lessons learnt throughout the pilot period to proactively address any concerns or queries parents may have about using the box ahead of its national roll-out this summer.”

Background

Ipsos MORI is carrying out research on the pilot of the Baby Box on behalf of the Scottish Government. The research is primarily qualitative, involving in-depth interviews with a sample of parents who have received boxes as part of the pilot and with professionals (midwives and health visitors). It is intended to provide feedback to inform the development of the scheme as it is rolled out.

Fieldwork is now in the final stages and the research will be published in full in due course.