Why Finland’s Newborns Sleep in Cardboard Cribs

At a glance, it seems a strange place to put a newborn: a bit of bedding and a miniature sleeping bag arranged in a cardboard box.

Even so, that’s the first place that many Finnish infants lay their little heads. And the simple setup is believed to be one reason that Finland now has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — 2.52 for every 1,000 births, less than half that of the United States.

Finland provides all its mothers-to-be with a baby box, but there’s a string attached. To receive it, the mother has to undergo a medical examination during the first four months of pregnancy.

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