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

The Truth About Cleaning Your Sheets

No matter your relationship status, you never go to bed alone. Nestled within your sheets are countless intruders. For an explanation, we turned to Philip M. Tierno Jr., director of clinical microbiology and immunology at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

How often should they change their sheets?

Wash sheets and pillowcases once a week, and you’ll eliminate that debris that has accumulated in the bed for that week. You’ll be safer from breathing in that material.

Debris? How can sheets possibly get that dirty?

Human skin cells become food for dust mites. That is one of the biggest problems associated with bedding. Mites accumulate, along with their feces. But there is also animal hair, dander, fungal mold, fungal spores, bodily secretions and bacteria. Also: dust, lint, fibers, particulates, insect parts, pollen, soil, sand and cosmetics.


All this stuff is yucky, but is it a health risk?

It is mainly a threat to respiratory tracts and not an infectious source. If you have allergies or asthma, this matter can exacerbate it. If you don’t have an allergy, you could develop one because you’re constantly challenged.

Is there an ideal way to wash bedding?

The water should be 130 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, typically the washing machine’s hot-water cycle. Then dry using a hot drying cycle. That is germicidal; it actually kills and destroys a lot of vegetative material. It also kills the dust mites. For extra protection, “bleach is excellent.”

Once a week, hot water. Then I’m safe?

No. To protect the mattress, I use an impervious outer cover. If you look at a mattress, it collects debris by gravity. All kinds of things collect on it that are absorbed into its core. Without the impervious cover, your mattress is a “zoological and botanical garden,” he says.

Can you share other tips for handling and cleaning bed sheets? Feel free to type in your suggestions below!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Shelter Pop