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Finnish-style baby boxes take over London

Brits are keen to adopt Finland's praised baby boxes, but opt for an American version instead.

Vauva laatikossa.
Hackney parents will need to complete a course called 'Baby Box University' in order to get the free baby box. Image: Skotlannin hallitus

Finland’s pride and joy, the baby box, will take over the East London borough of Hackney this August.

Operation ‘Welcome Hackney Babies’ will provide all new parents with a Finnish-style baby box.

The campaign follows a successful pilot project in 2015, when parents of newborns were given educational booklets about childcare and a baby changing bag full of baby products.

This year the Hackney council decided to take it one step further. Newborns will now be able to go home to an actual box similar to the one Finland gives out. The box will contain a mattress, a waterproof cover and cotton sheets, breast pads, wipes and nappies.

To the dismay of Finns, the box will be provided by American Baby Box Co. The company sells boxes ranging from 65 euros to 200 euros.

Hackney babies will get the box for free, but parents will need to complete an online course before applying for the baby box. The ‘Baby Box University’ course teaches parents about safe sleeping positions, breastfeeding, vaccinations and quitting smoking.

Scottish babies too will be able to coo in their own boxes, as Scotland is giving out its own starter pack this summer. Baby boxes have also been tested in Japan, New Zealand, Mexico, and Canada.

Booming baby box business

Finnish baby boxes originated 75 years ago as a way to give all Finnish babies an equal chance at life.

Finnish company Finnish Baby Box sells boxes similar to the Kela classic with price tags starting from 399 euros. Their Moomin version fetches 599 euros. The company has sold thousands of boxes in over 80 countries.

In contrast, Baby Box Co. sold over a million boxes last year. Recently, the company received an order for 60,000 boxes from the state of Alabama.

The baby box supplier Kela has no plans to capitalize on the box as it sees it as a social security benefit, not a commercial product. However, some royals and their blue-blooded babies, such as Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, have been gifted the box in PR purposes.

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