In Scotland, we believe that parenting is one of the most important jobs in the world. The work we do preparing our children for the future will ultimately shape our world in the years to come. With that in mind, we want to make sure that Scotland was the best place in the world to grow up in. That's why, in 2017, we launched the Baby Box initiative, which is designed to give every single baby in Scotland an equal start in life.
We believe that every child deserves the very best possible start in their life. And so, we made a commitment to provide every baby born on or after 15 August 2017 and living in Scotland with a brand new ‘Baby Box’. The Baby Box is a pioneering Scottish initiative, with the box itself being jam-packed full of all the essentials needed to help new parents welcome their bundle of joy into the world - along with a few little extra treats.
Inside each box you will find everything from baby clothes, a blanket, a bath towel and a baby wrap, to toys, bibs, a thermometer and nursing pads. All these items were chosen after an extensive insight campaign, which was dedicated to determining exactly what new parents would need in those early days.
As well as all the necessary essentials mentioned above, the box also contains a beautifully written poem called ‘Welcome Wee One’. The poem was written specially by Jackie Kay, who is Scotland’s national poet laureate – also known as The Scots Makar (a ‘Makar is a 15th century Scottish term for a poet or bard). The poem is an ode to the joys of bringing a new baby into the world.
As if that wasn't enough, the box has also been developed so that it can in fact be used as a place for new-borns to sleep. It comes lined with a mattress, mattress protector and a fitted sheet and provides a comfortable and safe place to pop the little one down for a nap.
It can also be used as a handy place to store baby items before they're born and as a memory box or a place to store toys once babies are too big to sleep in it. This ensures that the box continues to have a use long after the baby outgrows it! The outside of the box also features a decorative illustration which older siblings can colour in with parents, making them feel part of things when the baby arrives.
Scotland's Baby Box has just celebrated its third birthday as it continues to bring joy to families up and down the country. In its first three years, the Baby Box has been delivered to more than 144,000 homes, with an incredible 93% uptake.
The Baby Box has already helped hundreds of thousands of Scottish families and will continue to help so many more, but that is really just the start of our commitment to supporting families. Scotland currently funds 600 hours per year of free provision of early learning and childcare. However, we know that more needs to be done and that is why plans are in place to increase this to 1,140.
In our ultimate goal of making Scotland the best place in the world to grow up we want every family, regardless of circumstances to get the best start in life. Through our commitment to tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents we want to create a brighter future for everyone.