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Every baby born in Scotland from tomorrow will be presented with a ‘gift’ box of essential items as part of a new scheme introduced by the government.
The baby boxes will contain items such as clothes, books and blankets and can even double up as a cot.
They are being rolled out across the country after pilot projects in Orkney and Clackmannanshire in January.
They have been inspired by the Finnish baby boxes which can also be used for newborns to sleep in if the parents have no alternative.
Boxes issued under the Scottish scheme meet the highest safety standards and have been awarded British Safety Standard accreditation as a crib for domestic use, the Scottish Government said.
Chief medical officer for Scotland, Dr Catherine Calderwood said: “All parents should think about sleeping practices at the earliest possible stage even before their baby is born.
“Early evaluation shows the scheme is helping raise awareness of safe sleeping practices and we are committed to evaluating how the baby box is helping families across Scotland.
“It is important parents make the safe sleeping choice that is right for them, and anyone needing more information should speak to their health visitor or midwife.”
Lynsay Allan, executive director of the Scottish Cot Death Trust, said: “Whilst the proven safest place for a baby to sleep is in a cot, crib or moses basket, I also recognise that the box can be used as a safe sleep space for newborn babies, particularly where families may have no alternative and where they might otherwise unsafely share their bed or sleep on a sofa or chair with their baby.”
Earlier this month, chief executive of cot death charity The Lullaby Trust, Francine Bates, said: “We do have concerns about the baby boxes being marketed as products which will reduce infant mortality and SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
“If parents choose to use the box to sleep their baby, we urge them to read and follow our advice, approved by our scientific and paediatric advisers.”
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