Nunavut introduces Baby Box Program

Sumaita Karim - 1A Nanotechnology
Posted on: November 8, 2016

In hopes of reducing Nunavut’s high infant mortality rate, the territory is adopting Finland’s baby box program. Nunavut plans on distributing more than 800 of these baby boxes to parents of newborns.

The baby box program will provide families with an assortment of baby goods such as baby diapers, onesies, and breastfeeding equipment. To add a little unique touch, the boxes will also include a variety of children’s books in four of Nunavut’s official languages.

The baby box itself can also be transformed into a bed, as it comes stocked with a mattress and fitted sheets for a cozy and safe feel. The beds are specially approved by Health Canada to help reduce the risk of sleep related deaths in infants, such as sudden infant death syndrome.

That’s not all: the boxes also include family planning aids, such as condoms, and brochures educating parents on infant care. The contents of these boxes retail at $500 and all of the items are not locally manufactured.

The baby box program comes from a long-standing tradition in Finland. In 1939, the baby box program helped reduce the infant mortality rate to less than 2 in 1000 from 90 in 1000.

In Canada, Nunavut has the highest birth rate, with over 850 babies in 2016-2017 and the highest infant mortality rate every year since 1999.

The department of Health is aiming to hand out boxes in 25 communities through health centers this year. New parents can also register for a box at prenatal appointments. If the program is successful, it will continue to run in the coming years.

This type of program was first introduced in Canada when Alberta launched “Welcome to parenthood”. The baby box program is an extension of this initiative run by Nunavut’s department of Health and Education.

Similarly, in Saskatchewan, the store owners of Ready Set Baby Planners and Boutique have begun to offer them; however, these boxes must be purchased.