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Is a baby box the solution to safer sleep?

February 5, 2018

It’s hard to believe that a simple cardboard baby box containing a few practical baby products could have helped Finland to reduce its infant mortality rate from over 65 babies per 1,000 births in 1938 to only one baby per 6,000 births by 2016.

Provided by the state for free, these baby boxes have been given to new mothers for 80 years and typically include items such as a mattress, bedding, nappies, bodysuits and bathing products for the baby.

As well as being a very useful gift, the boxes are credited with the marked reduction in baby deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), otherwise known as ‘cot death’.

According to charity the Lullaby Trust, SIDS is “the sudden and unexplained death of an infant where no cause is found after a detailed post mortem.”

Fortunately, SIDS is quite rare, however it still affects almost 300 babies a year in the UK, with most deaths happening when the baby is sleeping and usually within the first six months of life.

How can baby boxes help reduce cot death?

Whilst there may not be any scientific evidence that definitively proves that using a baby box reduces the likelihood of SIDS, there are ways in which using the box might help families to ensure their baby sleeps safely.

For example, The Lullaby Trust recommends that, when putting your baby to bed, you always place your baby on its back in a clear cot or sleep space.

Whilst co-sleeping is quite popular with some parents, this can increase the risk of accidents leading to infant death. In fact, new data from the Department of Education showed that more than 130 babies die each year in the UK as a result of co-sleeping accidents, something that could more easily be avoided by using a separate sleeping space.

In addition, The Lullaby Trust advises that whilst your baby is asleep in bed you should avoid letting it get too hot, covering its face or using loose bedding, as this could obstruct its airways.

Clearly, as a baby box is typically a simple cardboard box with a custom-fitted mattress this avoids the above issues, provided you don’t then add unsuitable bedding and toys to the box.

But does your box meet BS EN 1130?

It might surprise some readers to know that many baby box brands have not been tested to ensure that they meet rigorous safety standards. Ideally, you want a box that meets the stringent requirements of BS EN 1130, so make sure you check this out before you make your purchase.

For Toni Kitchen of UK-based baby box company, Arvossa, meeting this requirement was an absolute must.

Toni says: “We want parents to feel confident that their baby is safe and sound when nestling down in their sleeper, so every inch of our baby box has been certified safe, from the hypoallergenic mattress to the metal-free, toy-grade ink used in our print.

“Safety is the main reason you won’t find any handles on our Baby Box, as we strongly advise against carrying the box with your little one inside.”

Have a baby box but still concerned about SIDS?

From 12th to 18th March 2018, The Lullaby Trust is running a national awareness campaign aimed at anyone who is looking after a young baby.

Called ‘Safer Sleep Week’, its purpose is to make sure parents in the UK understand the importance of a safe sleep approach for babies to help reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

To find out more about Safer Sleep Week just click here. You can also click here to see The Lullaby Trust’s full list of Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

Finally, if you want to find a baby box that meets stringent safety requirements, just click here to browse our range of baby boxes and gift bundles.