All new-born babies in Scotland due on or after 15 August 2017 are to benefit from baby boxes.
The boxes include essential items for a child’s first weeks and months to support parents but have prompted claims that more well off families could get these themselves.
Expectant mothers can register to receive the box at an existing midwife appointment after 15 June.
The boxes were devised by graphic design student Leanne Young from Edinburgh Napier University and feature a forest fairy tale scene complete with Highland cows, squirrels and the Loch Ness Monster
Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said: “Scotland’s baby box will help tackle deprivation, improve health and support parents, and we’re proud to introduce it in Scotland.
“It will include materials to promote the best possible outcomes for children and the box itself will also provide a safe space for babies to sleep near their parents, to promote bonding and early attachment.”
Delivery of the boxes will begin on 15 August and they will be sent to the mother’s home or other preferred address.
The roll-out follows pilot projects in Orkney and Clackmannanshire which started on 1 January. The initiative was inspired by Finnish baby boxes. The Scottish versions used in the pilot scheme were filled with around 40 items, including a changing mat, a digital thermometer, a fleece jacket, several babygrows, a hooded bath towel, a reusable nappy and liners, a baby book and an organic sponge.
The boxes, which are suitable for the new arrival to sleep in, also contain cot sheets, a mattress and a blanket and feature a forest fairytale design including Highland cows, squirrels and the Loch Ness Monster.
Gillian Morton, Head of Midwifery at NHS Forth Valley, said the response from local families in Clackmanannshire to the boxes has been “fantastic.”