Scotland's Baby Box pilot: qualitative research

Qualitative research by Ipsos MORI to inform the development and roll-out of the Baby Box scheme in Scotland.


1 Scottish Government press release 'Baby Boxes begin' Scottish Government press release 'Baby Boxes begin'


3 See

4 See the Scottish Government's SIMD 2012 area profiles for Orkney ( and Clackmannanshire (

5 Note that the research team did not have access to information on all eligible families in the two areas, so we are unable to say whether or not the profile of families who actually received a box is different from the profile of families who were eligible for a pilot Baby Box.

6 There were more midwives involved in registering parents for Baby Boxes in Orkney, since the midwifery team provide both community midwifery services and run the midwife delivery unit there. In Clackmannanshire, the pilot involved a smaller number of community midwives in registering parents for the scheme.

7 Among the 31 families for whom this information was known, 12 families (all in Clackmannanshire) lived in areas falling in SIMD 1 and 2 (more deprived areas), 9 were in SIMD 3 and 10 in SIMD 4 and 5 (less deprived areas). 13 were first time parents and 18 already had children. We did not collect this information for the 3 families who participated in an informal group discussion after a baby massage class.

8 24 families were interviewed face-to-face, including 3 who were interviewed in an informal small group following a baby massage class (the remainder were interviewed one-to-one, usually in their own homes). 7 families (all in Orkney) were interviewed by phone. Orkney midwives were interviewed face-to-face. Clackmannanshire midwives and Health Visitors were interviewed by phone.

9 While promoting safe sleeping is part of the aims of many Baby Box schemes, there is currently a dearth of evidence for a causal relationship between use of baby boxes and reductions in infant mortality.

10 Baby Box schemes in the USA (and some schemes in England) require parents to complete an online course covering issues like safe sleeping before they can receive their box.

11 57% of 226 parents interviewed by Kantar TNS said they would prefer to hear about the scheme from their midwife - McIsaac et al (2016) Scottish Government Baby Box Development Research debrief slidepack, available from Scottish Government


13 A robust assessment of the the third factor requires a control group who have not been given a box.

14 Most Moses baskets are used for a maximum of 6 months before babies grow out of them, and depending on the baby's size, may be useable for an even shorter period. The baby box is also intended to be useable for a similar period. However, parents commented that it could be used for longer than a Moses basket due to its larger size.


16 The American Academy of Pediatrics notes the low infant mortality rate in Finland but cautions that there are a number of factors which might contribute to this. It states that there is currently insufficient evidence on the role of cardboard boxes in reducing infant mortality:

17 NHS Health Scotland recommends cellular blankets as they help to regulate babies' temperatures:

18 The NHS recommends that parents buy new mattresses for newborns if possible, as some research has indicated a possible link between second hand mattresses and SIDS (though the Lullaby Trust charity that work to reduce SIDS state that this link is not proven) - see and

19 See for example evidence summarised at and in the online Oxford Research Encyclopedia entry on parent-child interaction, available at


Email: Dave Gorman

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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