Baby Box initiative reaches 200,000 families in Scotland

The Scottish Government scheme provides families with a range of essential baby items.

Baby Box initiative reaches 200,000 families in Scotland Getty Images

An initiative launched to support parents of newborn babies in Scotland has reached 200,000 families.

The Scottish Government’s Baby Box scheme was started four years ago and provides families with a range of essential items for their baby’s first six months.

The contents of the box are designed to inform and support positive parenting behaviours, and the box itself can be used for the baby to sleep in.

This year the Government commissioned polling firm Ipsos Mori to examine the impact of the boxes, with researchers contacting 2236 parents and 870 health visitors, midwifes and nurses between June 2019 and the autumn of 2020.

Results found the estimated take-up of baby boxes in Scotland is over 90%, with 97% of parents who took part rated them as “very” or “fairly good”.

Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said: “We are proud that the 200,000th Baby Box has been delivered to a family preparing to welcome their wee one.

“It means that 200,000 newborns and their parents have now benefited from a range of essential items.”

She said deliveries of the boxes have continued throughout the pandemic, adding: “Last year, a record 98% of expectant parents requested a Baby Box, a big rise on the 85% when they were first launched in 2017.”

One Parent Families Scotland chief executive Satwat Rehman said: “The fact that all babies in Scotland are gifted a box full of essential items means that as a society we want every child, regardless of their circumstances, to get the best start in life.

“We fully support this positive public health initiative that has the potential, through its universal approach, to make a contribution to the reduction of inequalities at the start of a baby’s life.

“Parents have told us that receiving the box made them feel the Government ‘cares about families’.”

The Ipsos Mori poll also found 91% of parents agreed the boxes had saved them money, while 76% of health professionals felt the scheme was effective in delivering essential items to families.

Parents said the thermometers included in the boxes were the most useful items, with health professionals also rating these as the most important.

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