Despite the torrent of ill-informed and petty bile aimed at one the Scottish Government’s several compassionate acts, 93% of parents asked their midwife to register for the ‘inflammable’ ‘SNP baby box.’.
There are typically around 50 000 births per year in Scotland so in the 19 months since the beginning of the policy in June 2017 to March 2019, there will have been around 87 000. In the same period, based on the answer to this parliamentary question below, nearly 81 000 baby boxes were delivered. Boxes went to those who asked their midwives to register them for it. So, the uptake has been 93%.
A year after the launch (They weren’t seaworthy neither!), as the heat from the burning boxes hypocrisy farce died down, we read:
‘The Royal College of Midwives has published a new position statement setting out its support for universal roll-out. It says the boxes can be a “positive significant investment” in early years and may contribute to reducing inequality. Baby boxes were made available to all expectant mothers in Scotland from August last year.’
The BBC Scotland shock story was based not on the opinion of midwives but on the opinion of a baby charity, based entirely in England, and which was not a well known organisation. But, the spokeswoman became an ‘expert’ based on her assumption that every baby would sleep in the boxes and nowhere else. It was also based on a stunt by the Sun where they actually set fire to the box using a strong naked flame. In very few homes are there unguarded flames. Of course fires can start from other sources of heat and most parents are aware of these. Even were a box to catch fire, it would not necessarily become an ‘inferno’. Of course fire is a serious matter (my mother died in one) and I am not being flippant. We need to have a sense of proportion and an ability to appraise risk calmly. There are risks in everything, but, with a rational consideration and appropriate preventative measures, mishaps are very unlikely (never impossible) to happen. ‘Zero tolerance’ does not equate to ‘no risk’.
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They found an academic of sorts too.
I think that the media are exaggerating his reservations to present a serious divergence of opinion between him and the RCM. The RCM made clear that the potential to use the box as a place to sleep, was only one part of a wide range of benefits which are associated with the boxes. Professor Blair, is I think, from his empirical-statistical perspective indicating that the sleeping facility aspect is worth further investigation. He was – and it could be argued, helpfully – providing some things that parents should do to optimise the baby’s safety. His principle focus for research is cot death.
Now that we have had a significant roll out in Scotland,the sample size is sufficiently large to get a clear picture of how parents use the boxes and, thus, the proportion of time it is used for sleeping. In addition, the specification for the boxes could be amended to include an inflammability criterion.
PS cynical flippancy time – will the BBC be sending out people to check if in any dumped baby box pigeons have nested?
We received a baby box last year and it is an absolutely fantastic resource, better than we ever imagined it could be. Forget the box, it is what is inside that matters, and it is obvious that so much thought and planning went into it. We are lucky to be ok financially but even so we are grateful for the quality of the items we were given; for people struggling a bit, the box must be a god-send. This is a really good new story and top marks to the SNP for delivering it, I have my doubts if any of the others would have managed it. As for all the complaining, just the usual from the BBC and the BritNats, sad, predictable and rather pathetic. Credit, where credit is due, and we think the Baby Box is fantastic.
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