Tag Archives: Finland

Why Finnish babies sleep in cardboard boxes

From the BBC

It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it’s designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life.

The maternity package – a gift from the government – is available to all expectant mothers.

It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.

With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls.

Why?  As one Finlander says

My partner Milla and I were living in London when we had our first child, Jasper, so we weren’t eligible for a free box. But Milla’s parents didn’t want us to miss out, so they bought one and put it in the post.

We couldn’t wait to get the lid off. There were all the clothes you would expect, with the addition of a snowsuit for Finland’s icy winters. And then the box itself. I had never considered putting my baby to sleep in a cardboard box, but if it’s good enough for the majority of Finns, then why not? Jasper slept in it – as you might expect – like a baby.

We now live in Helsinki and have just had our second child, Annika. She did get a free box from the Finnish state. This felt to me like evidence that someone cared, someone wanted our baby to have a good start in life. And now when I visit friends with young children it’s nice to see we share some common things. It strengthens that feeling that we are all in this together.

Okay, I love this idea.

What makes Helsinki the best city in the world?

Check out this video that asks the question, “What makes Helsinki the city with the highest quality of life in the world?”  As Monocle says,

Rising from fifth position in 2010, Helsinki outperformed Zürich at number 2 and Copenhagen at number 3 to claim the mantle as the world’s most liveable city. An unorthodox but well-deserving champion, the Finnish capital stands out for its fundamental courage to rethink its urban ambitions, and for possessing the talent, ideas and guts to pull it off.