Scotland’s Baby Box Scheme celebrates five year anniversary this summer

Scotland’s Baby Box scheme celebrates its five-year anniversary this summer and has introduced a range of new baby accessories to mark the occasion.

By Neil Johnstone
Friday, 1st July 2022, 9:53 am
Updated Friday, 1st July 2022, 9:54 am

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The popular campaign, which is funded by the Scottish Government, has delivered nearly 225,000 boxes since it launched in August 2017 to help families prepare for the arrival of their child and promote positive parenting behaviours.

The baby box initiative is designed to provide every child in Scotland an “equal start in life”, supplying essential items including clothes, a bath towel, a digital thermometer, toys and the sturdy box itself which functions as a bed complete with a lined mattress.

Launched in 2017, Scotland's Baby Box provides a variety of essential items to give infants the best start in life.

This year the box, which contains 38 items and has a value of around £160, has updated clothing designs and a baby toothbrush to support early oral health to give babies form birth to six months the best possible start in life.

Speaking during a visit to APS (Group) Scotland in Edinburgh, who pack and distribute the box, Minister for Children and Young People, Clare Haughey, said: “As every parent knows, the costs associated with having a baby are significant.

“Household budgets are under increasing pressure from the rising cost of living, so it is reassuring to know that all families in Scotland, regardless of their circumstances, have access to essential items needed for the first six months of their newborn’s life.”

She added: “Uptake for the Baby Box has grown to about 98% since it was introduced in 2017. As we head towards the fifth anniversary, I am proud that the Baby Box continues to support newborns and their families.”

Courtney McLeod with her four-month-old baby Addison and Children’s Minister Clare Haughey

Chief Dental Officer for Scotland, Tom Ferris, said: “I am really pleased to see a toothbrush included in the Baby Box for the first time.”

He added: “Good oral habits are essential to achieving excellent mouth health, and this will allow us to support families in achieving this from the very beginning of life.”

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Expecting mothers can register for the scheme during their 20-24-week antenatal appointment, and will usually receive the package between 32-36 weeks of pregnancy.

An independent analysis report published last year revealed 97 per cent of parents who took part in the research rated the box and its contents as “very” or “fairly good” and 91 per cent of parents agreed that the Baby Box scheme had saved them money.

Parents rated the digital ear thermometer and bath and room thermometer as among the most useful in the package with 50 per cent of respondents saying that these items educated them on monitoring their child’s health or temperature.

Over three quarters of health professionals agreed that the programme was an effective way to provide families with essential items for newborns and 84 per cent of parents said that books included in the box had encouraged them to read to their babies earlier.

The Scottish Government have anticipated that the Baby Box scheme box will encourage parental engagement with services and that national distribution of the box aims to generate a “shared understanding of a society that values and supports all children”.