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Finland’s baby boxes: how this year’s compares to first one in 1938

By Chris Harris
Copyright  Credit: Kela

Finland has lifted the lid on its latest baby box — a package of clothing and other useful items that is available to all new mothers.

The bundle is part of a long, proud tradition of the state trying to give all children an equal start in life.

New parents, including those who adopt children, can either choose to have the baby box or a €170 grant.

This year’s box includes warm clothing — such as a snowsuit, insulated booties and leggings — and other handy gifts.

Finland introduced baby boxes in 1938 in a bid to tackle a declining birth rate and high infant mortality.

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The box would double up as a bed as the poorest homes in pre-war Finland didn’t necessarily have a clean place for the baby to sleep.

The first box, which contained basic items like sheets, towels and nappies, looks thrifty in comparison to today’s version.

Now the packages include more luxurious items such as a sleeping bag, mittens and a book.


The state also thinks of the parents: the package also contains nipple cream, bra pads and even contraception.

Kela, the government agency responsible for the packages, says it gives out around 35,000 boxes a year.

Around 25,000 parents choose to take the cash grant, it added.

Scotland introduced its own nationwide baby box scheme last year after successful trials in selected areas of the country.

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