‘The cardboard baby box should not be promoted as a safe sleeping space' – expert warns

Cardboard baby boxes are being promoted for infant sleep as a safe alternative to more traditional cots, bassinets, or Moses baskets, without any evidence in place, experts warn.

In a letter to the British Medical Journal, Prof Peter Blair at the University of Bristol argues that, without supporting evidence, “the cardboard baby box should not be promoted as a safe sleeping space, but as only a temporary substitute if nothing else is available”.

They call for high-quality studies “to better understand how families use the cardboard baby box and its safety implications.”

In Finland, cardboard baby boxes have routinely been given to expectant mothers since the 1930s. They come with a mattress that fits into the bottom of the box, and are said by some to have helped cut sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death.

But Blair and colleagues argue that there is no evidence that these boxes reduce cot deaths (SIDS rates are equally low in neighbouring countries, such as Sweden and Denmark, where boxes are not provided), and they question whether they meet safety standards.

Cots — with their bars and raised surface — and Moses baskets allow infants to be easily seen by parents and may also facilitate air flow.

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