Baby Box at Essex maternity units aims to reduce infant deaths
- Credit: Archant
Hospitals in north Essex are the first in the region to join the Baby Box programme.
Baby Box originated in Finland and has been credited with reducing infant mortality rates, as well as encouraging early engagement with maternity services.
The Baby Boxes are made from a very thick cardboard and come with a firm foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover and a cotton sheet. They are traditionally used in Finland as a baby’s bed for up to the first eight months of their life.
The scheme was launched on Tuesday at Colchester Hospital University Foundation NHS Trust.
The families of all babies born at Colchester General Hospital and in the midwife-led units at Clacton and Harwich hospitals, as well as those delivered at home by the trust’s midwives, will be issued with a Baby Box for newborns to sleep in, free of charge.
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The box itself is thought to prevent sudden infant death syndrome by preventing babies from rolling over, but the programme also includes access to the Baby Box University, a comprehensive maternal and childcare education platform available from pregnancy onwards.
Essential baby products, such as shampoo, a onesie, nappies and wet wipes are also included.
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Tracy Baxter, the practice development midwife leading the initiative at the trust said: “We are so excited to offer this service, which will support and encourage families to adopt safe sleeping practices with their babies and reduce the risk of sudden infant death.
“The antenatal educational programme will allow us to provide accurate and timely information to pregnant women, whilst the Baby Box itself will provide a safe and practical space for the babies to sleep and will be free to all who sign up to the scheme.”
Jennifer Clary, chief executive from The Baby Box Co, added: “We are delighted to continue the expansion of the Baby Box and Baby Box University programme within the NHS.”
Colchester Zoo is offering a pair of Gold Card tickets to every 500th family that signs up to the Colchester Baby Box University to receive their Baby Box.