The only reason I know anything about Finnish baby boxes is because a story about them seems to alternate with the report about Tony Hart’s demise as the most-read article on the BBC News website. Whereas the latter is generally shared and re-shared in order to expose the insincere gushing tributes of social media users who fail to check their facts, the four-year-old piece about the boxes continues to gain momentum because it’s a genuinely interesting story.
Essentially, the government of the Nordic nation has doled out boxes for babies to sleep in since the 1930s and now all expectant parents receive the gift, along with a host of items such as clothes and nappies that will see them through the early days of parenthood. It’s not just a kind gesture from the state; the boxes have been credited with bringing down Finland’s infant mortality rate to one of the lowest levels in the world.
Baby Boxes Reach the UK
Arvossa are among a handful of companies bringing the concept to the UK and are the only ones to have secured a BSEN 1130 safety certificate for their product. You can buy the box, mattress and fitted sheet for £75, or opt for a package that includes all of that plus a host of practical goodies for £150. It was the second bundle that they sent me to review just days after Seth was born, and it is worth pointing out that no payment was received, allowing this review to be completely independent.
The company’s mission is to banish the Moses basket for good and, although the idea is based on a Finnish tradition and ‘arvossa’ means ‘treasured’ in that country’s language, Arvossa are based much closer to home, in North Yorkshire. The website even states that its products are “inspired by Finland, born in Harrogate” and we know family friendly Harrogate is…
What Was in the Package?
Arvossa’s idea is to provide practical items, rather than the usual baby shower fare, and a kneeling cushion to save the strain on your knees whilst changing baby was certainly enticing for me as I head full-on towards 40, with all the aches and pains that go with that. Also included are breast therapy pads (I have not tested them, I’m sorry to say), a nappy organiser, a travel change mat and a nasal aspirator for sucking the snot from baby’s nose without the risk of ingestion. Where was this package three years ago when I needed it?
In addition there were some pretty cool slippers and a hand-knitted “by Granny” hat, blanket and boots set that was a really neat, personal touch.
The box comes in choice of blue, pink and yellow and I plumped for the latter, keen as I am to avoid the whole gender-defined colour stereotyping thing. However, you’d never know that was the case if you were to take even a cursory glance over Elsa’s extensive princess dress collection.
By the way, the box does come with a lid, but I would like to think the readers of this site were blessed with the common sense to know that attaching it when the baby is in the box is not the done thing (to say the least). The lid comes in later, with parents encouraged to store items that remind them of their offspring’s early days within the box once the child moves into a cot.
The Sleep Test
The first thing you notice is that it is very strange putting your child down so low. Traditional Moses baskets and cribs are usually raised, whereas the Baby Box must be placed on the floor. There’s no issue with this, but you might want to spend a little time before using the box testing out the floorboards to see which squeak and which move when you walk across the opposite side of the room. This could prevent you committing the ultimate sin – waking a sleeping baby.
The box is a good size, with plenty of room for Seth for the weeks and months to come, whereas he looks as if he’ll have outgrown his Moses basket before too long. The mattress and sheet are good quality, making the price of the Baby Box seem very reasonable. I’m always surprised by how much decent baby mattresses set you back. They are one of the many hidden costs attached to having a baby, but at least that prepares you for being skint for the rest of your child’s life.
Once he was put down in the box, Seth was settled and relaxed. Considering the box is made of cardboard, it is surprisingly solid, which could be something to do with it arriving pre-made. Had I had to assemble it myself, goodness knows what state it would be in. The multitude of holes in our walls that are now surreptitiously hidden behind pictures is testament to my uselessness in all things DIY.
The Baby Box is a neat idea, with a fascinating history. The fact that it is larger than your usual Moses basket means it certainly stands a chance of replacing it in our nation’s affections. The longer the baby uses it, the more cost effective it becomes. Arvossa’s safety certificate, awarded by the British Safety Institution, is vitally important for parents’ peace of mind and the personal touches provided are very welcome.
The product definitely works, looks great and the gifts included in the full package are all very helpful following a new arrival. I can see this being a great present for new grandparents to bestow upon their expectant children, or even for workers to club together to buy for colleagues as they head off on maternity or paternity leave.
It even works as a place for a 38-year-old to get his head down too…
…although, as the parent to a young baby, I could probably manage to kip in the fast lane of the M62.
Find out more about the Baby Box at Arvossa’s website.