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North Middlesex University Hospital adopts Finnish-style Baby Box Programme

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Families who have their baby at North Middlesex University Hospital will be amongst the first in the country to receive a Finnish-style Baby Box for their newborn to sleep in. Launching to coincide with Infant Mortality Awareness Month, North Middlesex University Hospital is the second hospital in the UK to commence the Baby Box programme.

The Baby Box tradition, which originates from Finland, has been credited with reducing the infant mortality rate in the country from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015. The UK has some of highest rates of infant mortality in Europe, ranking 22nd out of the 50 European countries with 4.19 deaths per 1,000 births*.  

Baby Alen 3 days old tries a Baby Box
(From left, ti right: Haringey  Councillor, Jennifer Mann; Deputy Mayor of Haringey, Stephen Mann; Baby Box chief technical officer, Kevin Herberer; head of midwifery, Gary Slevin; bereavement midwife, Michelle Lynch;  proud parents Altin Qossia and Shpresa Pisha.)

The Baby Boxes, which are made from a special, durable cardboard and come with a firm mattress, waterproof mattress cover and 100% cotton sheet, are traditionally used in Finland as an infant’s bed for up to the first six months of their life.


Baby Freya 2 days old tries a Baby Box
(Left to right: Mayor of Enfield, Bernadette Lappage; head of midwifery, Gary Slevin; bereavement midwife, Michelle Lynch; Deputy Mayor of Haringey, Stephen Mann,; Councillor Jennifer Mann;  chief executive, Elizabeth McManus; front of picture, baby Freya with proud mum, Jordon Boylett)

Since the beginning of the Back to Sleep campaign in 1991 the rate of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDs) in the UK has dropped by 75% and more than 10,000 babies who would have died have survived. We now know that all babies must be put to sleep on their back, with feet to the end of their sleep space, whether it be an EN Standard compliant Baby Box, bassinet, or crib. We also know that bed sharing with a parent is dangerous, particularly if either parent smokes, consumes alcohol or uses drugs. Babies should also not co-sleep if they are born early or are smaller than expected.

Unfortunately, 6-10 babies born at North Middlesex University Hospital still die of SIDs each year, a tragedy for the families and the local community. There is strong evidence from Finland that the Baby Box may prevent some of these deaths when tied to an education program such as Baby Box University and we hope to see the infant mortality rate decrease here with the introduction of this initiative.


Baby Alen 3 days old tries out a Baby Box 

Families receiving a Baby Box will have access to the Baby Box University, a comprehensive maternal and childcare education platform, during their pregnancy. Developed with leading medical experts around the world, Baby Box University enables each of its healthcare partners to customise the educational content to suit local need. North Middlesex University Hospital’s Baby Box University provides women and their partners with videos, made by its team of doctors and midwives, to help reduce the risk of infant mortality during pregnancy and the first year of life. 

The educational videos are available in up to 17 different languages, including Turkish and Somali, the two most commonly requested local languages at North Middlesex University Hospital.   

Michelle Lynch, bereavement midwife at North Middlesex University Hospital who is leading the Baby Box initiative, said

“We are delighted to be launching the Baby Box programme. By providing every new family with the chance to receive this box, we will ensure every child is offered the same safe start, regardless of their background. The online education platform Baby Box University provides an additional method of getting important health information and advice directly to the families we work with at a time and place that suits them. It includes the information that is most relevant to them – such as the loss of fetal movement during pregnancy – which many mothers do not report until it’s too late. Most crucially, by providing translations in the languages used by the women we work with, we hope more will recognise the need to get help earlier should complications arise. We believe the project will help us to improve the health of mothers and babies and help tackle the area’s high rates of stillbirth and death in infancy.”

Jennifer Clary, the CEO of The Baby Box Co., which is supplying the hospital with the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships for participating parents said: “We are delighted to continue the expansion of Baby Boxes to the NHS and look forward to an impactful collaboration here at North Middlesex University Hospital.” 

Notes to Editors:

* Source: World Health Organisation: http://www.who.int/gho/child_health/mortality/neonatal_infant_text/en/

For more information about the Baby Box trial at North Middlesex University Hospital, please contact: Maxine Malpass, communications manager, 020 8887 2935, Maxine.malpass@nhs.net

About North Middlesex University Hospital

Over the last six years £200 million has been invested in modernising and expanding North Middlesex University Hospital in Sterling Way, Edmonton. The hospital’s state-of-the-art maternity unit opened in 2013 and delivers 5,300 babies each year. Its A&E department is one of the busiest in London. Over 94% of the hospital’s services are now delivered from buildings that are less than seven years old. The hospital’s workforce has also expanded to over 3,000, 60% of whom live and work locally in Enfield and Haringey.  

About The Baby Box Co.

Entrepreneurs Michelle Vick and Jennifer Clary founded The Baby Box Co. to offer a safe sleep environment to babies everywhere. The Baby Box Co. is an innovative, integrated programme to support parents and improve maternal and infant healthcare outcomes globally. The Baby Box Co. partners with hospitals, government agencies and non-profit organisations to provide Baby Boxes, quality products, resources and ongoing education to families on a large scale. Baby Boxes are also available direct to consumer either as a standalone item or filled with new baby essentials. Serving families in 52 countries, The Baby Box Co. has offices in UK, USA, Australia, Canada and Singapore. For more information or to purchase a Baby Box, please visit www.babyboxco.uk The Baby Box University education resource is at www.babyboxuniversity.com    

For more information about The Baby Box Co. please contact:

Sophie Luis

Sophie@sophieluis.com

020 7112 8556