Finnish Heritage Museum 301 High Street
Fairport Harbor, Oh, 44077
Map Here
Museum Hours:
Saturday 10am-3pm
"Aitiyspakkaus Maternity Package, aka Finnish Baby Box"

Aitiyspakkaus maternity package, aka finnish baby box wouldn't it be helpful to find out you're getting a box of items to care for your newborn along with a safe place for them to sleep? And, you're not going to have to pay for that. Oh, and wouldn't it be even better to get a child benefit every month until your child turns 17? Well, thanks to a law that's 86 years old, every parent, regardless of income, receives this when their child is born. Prior to 1945, baby boxes were given to qualifying low income mothers, but from 1945 on, the baby boxes are a universal benefit. Some might ask why Finland allocates resources to this. It's all in the data. Finland is one of the top four countries in the world with a low mother/infant mortality rate. The baby box gives parents a safe place for baby to sleep and is believed to lower the incidence of sids. One of our members, hely perttu, mentioned that she did not get two baby boxes for her twins when they were born.

Heikki and linda penttila are truly excited about this - linda taught home economics courses for years in a local high school and shared their knowledge with us, including inviting karen unver from the wexner medical center to talk about healthcare in Finland versus healthcare in the united states as well as her specialty: transplants.

How does Finland do this? Well, the taxes in Finland are 42.7% and in the united states are 24.3%. The first baby box included material to make baby clothes, but now there is no material nor are there diapers. The baby box contains up to 50 items of clothing for baby as well as care items such as thermometer, nail clippers, toothbrush, hairbrush, and added in the 1970's were condoms. Education and the baby box begin when the mother is five months pregnant. And when the tradition began everyone received the same things, but now you get climate friendly things based on whether you are in the north or the south of Finland. It's interesting to note that in Finland babies are bundled up and placed outside to sleep.

In Finland health care is not centralized. Both parents are given paid maternity leave for 10 months. The baby box is part of the finnish social security system. Kela, the independent social security institution. Pays the grant the government sets cash benefits which today, according to many sources, is eur170. The kela determines the contents of the box. In 2018, the finnish reading center, launched a benefit for early reading. All children born in Finland now receive a book every month during their first year as well as helpful hints for parenting.

Subtly, the finnish government has used these programs to support families in making healthy choices for their children, such as bottles during the time bottle feeding was supported and then nursing products during the time nursing was found to be most beneficial. At the beginning when baby boxes were first sent to families, they did not receive them unless they were attending health clinics, etc. This led to education for the families, but more notably a reduction in infant and mother mortality rates. Will the new reading support improve early literacy? Students in Finland begin their education at age 7. The world will most likely be looking on to see how these initiatives effect the outcomes of family life.

In photo: Left to right Linda Penttila, Karen Unver, Heikki Penttila.