Finnish Babies Sleep In Cardboard Boxes

Finnish Babies Sleep In Cardboard BoxesFor 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It’s like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates.

‘Equal start in life’

It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it’s designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life. The maternity package – a gift from the government – is available to all expectant mothers. It contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products for the baby, as well as nappies, bedding and a small mattress.

With the mattress in the bottom, the box becomes a baby’s first bed. Many children, from all social backgrounds, have their first naps within the safety of the box’s four cardboard walls. Mothers have a choice between taking the box, or a cash grant, currently set at 140 euros, but 95% opt for the box as it’s worth much more.


‘Rite of passage’

The tradition dates back to 1938. To begin with, the scheme was only available to families on low incomes, but that changed in 1949.

“Not only was it offered to all mothers-to-be but new legislation meant in order to get the grant, or maternity box, they had to visit a doctor or municipal pre-natal clinic before their fourth month of pregnancy,” says Heidi Liesivesi, who works at Kela – the Social Insurance Institution of Finland.

So the box provided mothers with what they needed to look after their baby, but it also helped steer pregnant women into the arms of the doctors and nurses of Finland’s nascent welfare state. At 75 years old, the box is now an established part of the Finnish rite of passage towards motherhood, uniting generations of women.

What do you think of Finland’s cardboard box tradition for babies? Would you let your baby sleep in one?

Source: Helena Lee, BBC News

Image: Facebook

Bikinis No Longer Required in Women’s Olympic Beach Volleyball

Women beach volleyball players won’t have to wear bikinis at the 2012 London Olympics. A new rule announced on Tuesday says that participants in this summer’s beach volleyball competition can now wear shorts and sleeved tops. This new rule comes as good news for other countries wanting to participate in this event.

Athletes in the volleyball event have exclusively worn bikinis since the sport was introduced at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Competitors could also wear bodysuits in cold-weather events. The important change was made to reflect cultural conventions of various participating countries.

“Shorts of a maximum length of [1.18 inches] above the knee, and sleeved or sleeveless tops,” will now be allowed, according to the new IOC ruling.


Since the Beijing Olympics, most beach volleyball competitions have changed rules to allow for more modest uniforms. It is an attempt to broaden the diversity in the sport, which tends to be dominated by athletes from Europe, Brazil and the United States. Allowing shorts and shirts can encourage participation from other countries with more modest cultural beliefs.

As the AP reports, the field at London’s beach volleyball competition won’t be dictated by world rankings, as in Olympics past. Qualifying tournaments on various continents will fill the 24-team draw.

Source: Yahoo News

Image: 98.1 CHFI