Finland gifts new parents with 60-item starter kit
Finland is giving all new babies in the country an equal start in life by gifting their parents a 60-item starter kit.
The boxes have been distributed by Finland's social security institution, Kela, for 75 years, and they include everything parents need for their new arrival including clothes, blankets, toys, a book, bedding, and various personal care items.
What's more, is that if parents have everything they need already, they can opt to receive a voucher for €170 instead, per Business Insider. Oh, and in case you're wondering, non-Finnish parents living in the country receive the baby box too!
As per Kela, the items in the baby box have been selected "with a view to their significance for promoting the health and well-being of the mother and child."
When parents sign up for the box, the page for the maternity package includes lots of useful information about parenthood in Finland including maternity, paternity, and parental allowances, child benefits, the three types of childcare allowances, child sickness and disability assistance, an adoption grant, and much more.
While baby boxes might not necessarily seem necessary in the modern, Western world, there's a serious argument to be made that they are having an impact in Finland, which boasts the lowest under-five child mortality in the world at just is 1.7 per 1,000 live births. In comparison, the mortality rate in the US is 6.53, per Business Insider.
Anu Partanen and Trevor Corson, a Finnish-American couple living in Helsinki, explained that they were living in New York when their daughter was born but had their friends smuggle a baby box into the country because it's such an important part of their heritage.
Anu said: "To me, the box was home, and it was filled with love and support. It was a gift from a country that started out among the poorest in Europe, having endured famine, oppression, and hardship, but that built itself up to be one of the wealthiest.
"But what matters to me most is what Finland has chosen to do with its wealth: Finland has chosen to invest in its people - all of its people - and especially to nurture its children - all of them. The path was not always straight or easy, and struggles continue even today. But I cannot imagine a better way to use one's freedom, independence, and fortune as a society than to ensure a good future for the nation's children."
The Finnish baby box itself doubles as a crib: