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How a cardboard box saves babies' lives in Finland

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Kela maternity box
Kela maternity box

In Finland, nearly every newborn is sent home with a free, government-issued cardboard box. The idea might seem a bit strange, but in Finland it's helped dramatically decrease infant mortality rates and perpetuate the idea that children there each start on the same, equal footing, according to a report from the BBC. And what's inside each of these boxes is just as important as the box itself.

In the 1930s, about 65 out of every 1,000 newborns died. Today, Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world, something many attribute to the country's maternity box. Each box is filled with essential items that new parents will need, but can't always afford — clothes, a sleeping bag, hygiene products, cloth diapers, and even a picture book. At the bottom of the box is a small mattress and some bedding, which results in the box becoming the first crib for many Finnish newborns. Read more about Finland's maternity box, and why it's now seen as a rite of passage for Finnish mothers, over at the BBC.