First minister’s ‘baby box’ generation

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All babies born in Scotland will receive a Baby Box of essential items and a box that can be used as a safe place to sleep, in a move designed to tackle inequality and promote health.

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Nicola Sturgeon visited Butterfly Nursery in Arden, Glasgow

The baby box, which follows a three-month pilot earlier this year in Clackmannanshire and Orkney , will be given to every baby due on or after 15 August 2017.

All newborns and parents will be given the box of essential items to help them during the first six months.

The box has also been awarded a British Safety standard accreditation, and also meets EU safety standards, so that it can safely be used as a crib for domestic use or travel cot, and comes with a mattress, mattress protector and sheet.

scotland-baby-boxesThe boxes also contain practical items including baby clothes, a digital ear thermometer, a bath and room thermometer, a travel changing mat, baby books, a play mat, and a comforter toy.

The baby boxes also contain a poem written by Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, called ‘Welcome  Wee One’.

A midwife will fill in a baby box registration card at a regular antenatal appointment with parents-to-be. Parents will receive their baby box soon after or around the time of the birth of their baby. From January 2018, the boxes will be delivered at least four weeks weeks before the baby's due date.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reiterated the Scottish government’s commitment to tackling inequality and promoting health during a visit to Butterfly Nursery in Arden, Glasgow, where she met babies who will be among the first to benefit from the commitment to double funded childcare provision by the end of this Parliament.

Speaking after the visit at Butterfly Nursery in Arden, Glasgow, the First Minister said, ‘Scotland’s Baby Box is giving children the best possible start in life, and we are committed to doing all we can to make sure Scotland is the best place for a child to grow up.

‘Our commitment to almost doubling entitlement to free early learning and childcare hours will benefit the Baby Box generation and ensure they can grow and develop in the very best environments, like the one I visited today. It will also benefit families by allowing parents to go back to work or further study.

‘The importance of early years development simply cannot be overstated, which is why my government is putting so much emphasis on doing all we can to improve the life chances of youngsters across Scotland.

‘In doing so, we want to help close the gap which sees too many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds lag behind others when it comes to health, educational achievement and employment.’

The Scottish Government said that the 'baby box generation' will also benefit from a new Early Years Grant for low-income families, which will be made up of £300 birth payments for all children and extra payments of £250 at key transitions in the early years.

Families are also able to access healthy food through the Healthy Start Voucher scheme. The government is also expanding the Family Nurse Partnership programme and has promised 500 more health visitors by the end of 2018.

Mark McDonald minister for childcare and early years said the box was one of a range of measures to help babies and parents thrive in the crucial early months.

'The box includes a large number of items which are not only practical but designed to help tackle inequality and improve health. It can also be used as a safe sleep space and has been awarded British Safety standard accreditation as a crib for use at home.

‘We will continue to listen to feedback as the Baby Box reaches more families and work with parents and healthcare professionals to keep the contents under review.

‘The Baby Box has certainly captured the public’s imagination and we are extremely proud to introduce it to Scotland.’

Chief medical officer Dr Catherine Calderwood said, ‘All the evidence shows that the early years are crucial for children’s development. What happens then can be linked to outcomes much later in life. So we know that measures undertaken in the 0-3 years age range have the opportunity to make the biggest impact.

‘That is why we have been working hard to enhance the existing infrastructure available to support families in these crucial early years from before birth all the way up to school age and beyond.

‘Over and above the practical benefits the items within the Baby Box provide, the box itself also offers healthcare professionals a unique opportunity to introduce expectant parents to a wide range of health promotion information.’

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Each box includes a poem written by Scotland’s Makar, Jackie Kay, called ‘Welcome Wee One’.

More information

http://www.parentclub.scot/baby-box

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