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First Baby Box Programme in Yorkshire launches at Leeds Baby Week

Tuesday 12th September 2017

New parents across Leeds now receive a free Baby Box to support safer sleeping for their new arrivals.

The Baby Box Co. provides the kit, which doubles as an infant sleeping space and contains useful information and products for families.

The aim of the programme is to encourage early engagement with maternity services and access to care for all pregnant women. In order to receive a free Baby Box, expecting parents need to complete the Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust syllabus on www.babyboxuniversity.com, a comprehensive maternal and childcare education platform. Upon completion, they will receive a certificate that can be redeemed for their free Baby Box. 

The Baby Box tradition, which originates from Finland, has been credited with reducing the infant mortality rate in the country from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015. The UK has some of highest rates of infant mortality in Europe, ranking 22nd out of the 50 European countries with 4.19 deaths per 1,000 births*.

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Leeds is one of the largest maternity units in the UK; around 10,000 babies are born in the city each year. A key part of the Leeds Maternity Strategy and the Leeds Best Start Plan is to focus on promoting best practice which supports parents-to-be and new parents in giving their baby the best possible start in life.

Sue Gibson, Head of Midwifery for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am really pleased that we have had the opportunity to work with The Baby Box Company and are now able to provide parents-to-be with the opportunity of a free baby box. This initiative supports the information that parents receive around safe sleeping and reducing the risk of cot death.  But it is much more than that: parents have access to a wealth of information, in the form of short films made by the maternity team in Leeds about pregnancy, birth and caring for their babies.”

The Baby Boxes, which are fully compliant with EN/UK standard for cribs and cradles (BS EN 1130), are made from durable cardboard and come with a firm foam mattress (compliant with UK mattress standards BS 7177 2008 + A1:2011 and BS 1877 - 10:2011 + A1:2012), waterproof mattress cover and a cotton sheet, are traditionally used in Finland as a baby’s bed for the first months of their life, replacing the need for a traditional Moses basket or cot.

Lead Midwife Sarah Bennett says: “We’re passionate about giving all new parents the information and education they need to make positive choices - it makes a huge difference to babies’ lives.

“We’re delighted to introduce the Baby Box scheme in Leeds. It supports all of our work - for example by teaching parents about not co-sleeping with baby, having a smoke-free home, and breastfeeding. This will ensure that all babies in Leeds get the best possible start in life.”

The Baby Box launched on the first day of Leeds Baby Week - a unique partnership in the city which focuses on giving babies the best possible start in life. For more information visit www.babyweek.co.uk