Baby Boxes for Newborns in Nunavut
Nunavut‘s government wants to boost the health of its infants and families. It is their hope that the new Baby Boxes will play a large role in this boost.
What are Baby Boxes and how do they help?
Over the next year, each baby that is born in Nunavut will receive a Baby Box; that is, a care package that is filled with a blend of clothing, books & educational material, and maternal care products. The box itself, approved by Health Canada, has been proven to reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
“Nunavut has the highest rate of infant mortality in Canada, and reducing the risk of SIDS and infant mortality is a priority,” commented George Hickes, Health Minister.
George launched the baby box on October 25, 2016 in the lobby of Nunavut’s legislative building. “I’m thrilled that Nunavut is taking the lead on this baby box initiative – the first publicly-funded universal program of its kind in Canada.”
Emily Shoapik from Pangnirtung, during the launch, placed her two-week-old child into one of the boxes, which is pictured below.
Where does the Baby Box concept come from?
Baby Boxes originated in Finland back in 1939! Äitiyspakkaus, as they are known in Finland, were introduced at a point in time when the infant mortality rate in the country was 90 in every 1,000 live births. Since the introduction of boxes and medical advancements, the mortality rate has decreased to 2 in every 1,000 live births.
To put this into perspective, Nunavut observed an infant mortality rate of 14.6 in every 1,000 live births just a couple of years ago in 2014. The average in Canada is a third of this, at 5.2 in every 1,000.
How you can get your own Baby Box
In 2016-2017, the Department of Health in Nunavut aims to deliver over 800 baby boxes to families. To our readers in Nunavut: You can register for your own Baby Box either during your next prenatal appointment or by reaching out to your local community health centre.