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BBC baby box article delights Brits

Finland’s maternity package system is 75-years-old this year, and the BBC has been looking at just how it has led Finnish babies of all social classes to sleep in cardboard boxes. The story drew a strong response on social media, and was at one point the most-read article on the BBC website on Tuesday.

Äitiyspakkaus.
The Finnish baby box raises interest across the world. Image: Roni Rekomaa / Lehtikuva

Finnish parents might take their baby boxes for granted, but the system that provides it still occasionally amazes those in the outside world.

An article on the BBC website outlined how every new mother in Finland gets a selection of clothes, bedding and products that will be useful in the first few months of a baby’s life, on condition that they attend pre-natal appointments with nurses and doctors.

The system has been in place since 1938 and now even offers babies their first bed, in the form of the cardboard box containing the package—it doubles as a bed thanks to a foam mattress placed inside.

The BBC story drew a strong response from readers. At the time of writing it had been shared more than 26,000 times on social media, drawing more than 250 comments under the article itself.

They were overwhelmingly positive about one of the cornerstones of the Finnish welfare state. Many lambasted politicians for not implementing something similar in other countries, but at least one politician seemed positive about starter boxes for new parents—British Labour party MP Tom Watson described the idea as “peculiarly wholesome” in a post on Twitter.

BBC: Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes

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