No proof baby boxes reduce cot deaths

Baby crying

The Lullaby Trust has questioned the safety of the boxes as places for babies to sleep

3rd August 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The benefits of infants sleeping in baby boxes has been called into question.

The Lullaby Trust has said there is no proof that baby boxes reduce the rate of cot deaths.

However the Scottish Cot Death Trust has said there is no evidence either way that babies are safer sleeping in one of the boxes than a cot or crib.

The Scottish Government is distributing the boxes – which are filled with health products and can be used as a sleep space – to parents of newborns who arrive on 15 August or later. The scheme was introduced after the success of it in Finland was highlighted, with the country having one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world.

The Lullaby Trust has said there is no evidence to claim that boxes reduce infant mortality and said they may not meet safety standards.

Chief executive Francine Bates said: “We support all efforts to promote safer sleep for babies. However, we do have concerns about the baby boxes being marketed as products which will reduce infant mortality and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids).

“We are not aware of any evidence, including in Finland, to support this claim. It is also not possible for baby boxes to meet all current safety standards, as nursery furniture regulations only apply to traditional cots, cribs and bassinets, not boxes made from cardboard.”

The Scottish Cot death Trust said it had remained neutral on whether the box should be used as a safe sleeping space for babies.

A spokesperson said: “It remains the priority of the Scottish Cot Death Trust that all families with babies have information on how babies may sleep in the safest way possible.

“Where families do decide to use the baby box for their baby to sleep in, they should follow the instructions for use, which are printed both on part of the box and on a leaflet provided within the box.

“As an organisation, the Scottish Cot Death Trust is concerned with the safety of babies wherever they sleep.”

The rollout of boxes by the Scottish Government began as a pilot earlier this year, ahead of a full rollout this summer. The government has said the box can send a strong signal of support to families from the start of their child’s life.

The average cost of the box to the taxpayer is around £160, with the scheme set to amount to £35.3 million over its first four years of operation.