Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has welcomed news that new parents in Orkney are set to pilot a new “baby box” scheme.
The “Baby Box”, being carried forward by the Scottish Government, will give a boxful of baby essentials to every new parent.
The idea was introduced in Finland 80 years ago to tackle cot death at a time when 10 per cent of children died before reaching their first birthday. Today the rate is 0.2 per cent, one of the lowest in the world. The UK rate is 0.4 per cent.
Mr McArthur said:
"These boxes have been proven to cut infant mortality rates around the world, which is why Liberal Democrats were the first party to commit to distributing them to expectant parents.
“I am delighted, therefore, that the Scottish Government is taking forward this idea, and all the more so given that parents in Orkney will be among the first in the country to receive one. I believe they have the potential to provide wider benefits for the early development of babies.
“It will be interesting to hear the feedback from this pilot phase and, in particular, whether or not there are specific issues that need to be borne in mind for the roll out in rural and island areas”.
Notes to editors:
Orkney and Clackmannanshire will be the first areas in Scotland to receive a box when the initial pilot begins on New Year’s Day 2017.
The Scottish Liberal Democrat manifesto for the elections in May, released prior to the SNP announcing its policy, said: “We will start a pilot project to give parents of new-born babies a Finnish-style baby box containing essential items to ensure a healthy baby, proven to cut child mortality rates internationally.”