A few months ago, several media outlets began announcing that Baby Boxes, which originated in Finland and have been distributed since 1938, will be coming to Canada. As a proud Finn, who is also at the age where it seems like everyone I know is either a parent, announcing their pregnancy or at least planning their growing families, I wanted to look into what the process is for Parents-to-be in Canada (and not just those living in Alberta) who want try this service. Here is what I found out:
What are in the Baby Boxes and how do they benefit the parents & children?
Baby Boxes contain clothing, bibs, mats, diapers, sheets and toys, all in a box (complete with mattress) that the baby can safely sleep in. According to Maclean’s Magazine,
Funded by the government, and distributed equally to Finland’s mothers in need and those in positions of wealth and privilege—even the Duchess of Cambridge was sent a box as a goodwill gesture from the Finnish Government—the boxes are credited with much more than warm fuzzy feelings. Since the program began in 1938, Finland’s infant mortality rate has dropped from 65 deaths per thousand births to one of the world’s lowest, at 3.3.
That is a huge improvement, but what about in Canada?
Compared to other Countries, Canada is doing fairly well when it comes to the infant mortality rate, depending on who you ask.
[…] at about 5 deaths per thousand births. This is low compared to most countries—Angola, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan all have rates over 150, and the global average, according to the United Nations, is almost 50 deaths per thousand. But among peer countries, Canada ranks second-to-last, and a Save the Children report found Canada had the second-highest rate of first-day infant mortality in the industrialized world.
We are lucky to live where we do but as Canadians, we all have our own unique challenges that we have to face- whether it is being a single parent, teenage parent, etc the Baby Box is meant to help you and your baby transition safely. The Boxes should not be advertised as a way to “save your baby’s life” as stated in the Maclean’s article, because there is nothing in the box that would do so.
Of rare infant deaths, he (Dr. Shaun Morris of SickKids’ Centre for Global Child Health) explains, most are because they’re born prematurely and need far more medical intervention than could possibly come in a box. “Babies born at 24 gestational weeks don’t need rompers and onesies; they’re in intensive care, under warming lights, for three months. They’re not in a box, and there’s nothing in this box that would save a life in Canada.”
The boxes that are being sent to Canadians will be a bit different than the ones that have been distributed in Finland and several other countries. While it will still provide you with clothing, blankets, toys and books, it is not meant to be used for the baby to sleep in like the other Baby Boxes. In the boxes that are being distributed in Alberta for example, the boxes also include access to drop-in and mentor programming, online video programs with experts for any possible questions the new parents may have, and even a “university membership card” to help with any literacy issues.
What if I don’t live in Alberta or Ontario?
According to the FAQ section on the official Baby Box Canada website, “Register ASAP and specify your province. Ontario is our pilot province. We will be expanding Canada-wide as soon as possible and will be expanding on a province-by-province basis according to demand. Plus, you never know, we might ship you a surprise baby box, just for being an early registrant.”
I just registered, but I didn’t provide an address- why?
“Baby Box Canada’s initial registration form is designed for you to provide your basic contact information, expected due date, and location area. This helps us to plan our logistics. Because nine months can be a long time (even if it seems like it’s flying by!), we will contact you again with an Address Confirmation Email in advance of shipment as follows.
- For expectant parents who are due between January and May, we are working with our partners to produce an alternate baby box more age appropriate where necessary. You will hear from us anytime between the end of March and beginning of April to confirm a shipping address.
- For expectant parents who are due date in June or later, you can expect to hear from us to confirm a shipping address 2-3 months before your due date.
If you are having multiples, there will be an opportunity for you to tell us when we ask for your mailing address.”
So there you have it! If you want to get Baby Box to begin distribution in your area, register now and specify which Province you reside in! Share the news with all of your friends and family to get the word out and to help get the boxes in your city. To see their official Facebook page, click here and be sure to Like & Share it! To Follow their Twitter account, you can find them here to stay up to date on what’s happening.
If you want one of your products included in the Baby Box, be sure to Contact the company via this link and they will get in touch with you to let you know how to become a product sponsor.
Do you like the idea of the Baby Box? Do you live in an area that has benefited from this program? Let me know by commenting below or find me on Facebook!