. boxes are being promoted as a safe alternative to standard cots, bassinets and Moses baskets despite a lack of evidence on their safety, experts warn.
The cardboard boxes, which come with items like clothes and blankets and can be used as a bed, are offered to new mums in Scotland and parts of England.The Royal College of Midwives wants the scheme rolled out across the UK, saying it offers a “more equal start to life”.
But experts have raised concerns about how safe the boxes are to sleep in.
Writing in a letter to the BMJ, Prof Peter Blair and colleagues say that, as the evidence stands, the boxes should only be used as a temporary bed if nothing else is available.
The boxes, which come with a mattress, have routinely been given to every expectant mother in Finland since the 1930s.
Scotland started offering the free boxes to new parents last year, while some NHS Trusts in England have had pilot and full schemes in place for up to two years. The boxes are not offered by health bodies in Wales or Northern Ireland.
The Royal College of Midwives says the boxes can reduce the likelihood of babies sleeping unsafely, either on a surface like a sofa or with parents who smoke, drink alcohol, or take drugs, and would particularly benefit those born into deprived environments.However, Prof Blair and colleagues, including representatives of the cot death charity Lullaby Trust, said there was a lack of evidence into how safe the boxes are for sleeping in. Compared with cots, bassinets and Moses baskets, it is harder for parents to see their babies easily when they are sleeping in them, they warned. —BBC