What will Scotland's baby boxes look like?

Two of the shortlisted baby boxes
Image caption The designs of Marwa Ebrahim (left) and Ruth Hamilton (right) are among those shortlisted

The final six shortlisted designs for Scotland's baby boxes have been revealed.

By the summer, all newborn children in Scotland will receive the boxes which contain items including bedding, clothing and toys.

A three-month pilot is currently under way in Clackmannanshire and Orkney.

More than 70 students applied for the design competition, being run by the V&A Dundee, to decide what the boxes will look like.

The shortlisted designers are:

  • Grace Brown, North East Scotland College;
  • Marwa Ebrahim, Glasgow School of Art;
  • Ruth Hamilton, Edinburgh College of Art;
  • Lena Sakura, Edinburgh College;
  • Monika Stachowiak, North East Scotland College;
  • Leanne Young, Edinburgh Napier University.

Their designs include woodland creatures and the Loch Ness monster, as well as buses and famous Scottish symbols.

Each one is intended to be interactive and to help record milestones.

Image copyright Jelena Sakura
Image caption Jelena Sakura designed a box to look like a bus
Image copyright Leanne Young
Image caption Leanne Young's intricate line drawing design can be customised by the child and their family as they grow
Image copyright Monika Stachowiak
Image caption Artwork depicting the Scottish countryside features on Monika Stachowiak's design.
Image copyright Grace Brown
Image caption This box, designed by Grace Brown, features an array of Scottish wildlife

The winning designer will receive mentoring from two Scottish designers and a £1,000 prize. Their design will also appear on every baby box once they launch nationwide in the summer.

Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald said: "The baby box is a simple idea with a proven track record in tackling deprivation, improving health and supporting parents, and I'm extremely pleased we are now another step closer to introducing it throughout Scotland.

"It is a fantastic initiative that will play a major role in realising our wider government ambition of giving all children the best possible start in life and I look forward to working with my fellow panel members to ensure the box itself has the best possible design."

The Scottish government's baby box scheme, which will cost an estimated £6m per year, is inspired by a Finnish project that has been running since 1938 which aims to give all children an equal start.

The brief asked entrants to include an interactive element on the baby box where key stages in the child's first year can be recorded.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the pilot scheme earlier this month.

Image copyright Scottish Government
Image caption Mark McDonald with five of the six finalists

As well as containing about 40 different items including a changing mat, digital thermometer and babygrows, the box also comes with sheets, mattress and blanket, making it suitable for a baby to sleep in.

However there has been some criticism of the fact the boxes are branded "a gift from the Scottish government".

Family entitlement

Scottish Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw, welcomed the boxes as a "commendable idea" and one he wished his own party had come up with but questioned having mention of the Scottish government on each one.

He said: "The logical extension of that is that patients will wake up in hospital with a tattoo across their abdomen saying 'your operation is a gift from the Scottish government', and children at school will wear uniforms that say, 'your education is a gift from the Scottish government'.

"The baby box is not 'a gift from the Scottish government': it is an entitlement that we have now offered to every new family in Scotland, funded by the taxpayer. If anything, it is a gift from the Scottish taxpayer and the Scottish people, so there should be no nascent SNP propaganda saying that it is 'a gift from the Scottish government'."

Public health minister Aileen Campbell responded that she was "slightly surprised by the belligerence that Jackson Carlaw displayed towards the baby box", which she described as "designed to help families and give all children the very best start in life".

What is in the baby boxes?

Image caption The baby box contains 50 different items for the first year of a child's life
  • Mattress
  • Fitted cot sheets
  • Satin-edged cellular blanket
  • Mattress protector
  • Pramsuit with hood
  • All-in-one day suit
  • Romper and bodysuit set
  • Scratch mittens
  • Short-sleeved bodysuit
  • Long-sleeved bodysuit
  • Long-sleeved bodysuit with integral scratch mittens
  • Long-sleeved wraparound bodysuit
  • Footed leggings
  • Fleece jacket with hood
  • Jersey trousers
  • Baby wrap
  • Hooded bath towel
  • Real nappy and liners
  • Digital ear thermometer and replacement hygiene cover
  • Natural bath sponge
  • Bath and room baby thermometer and battery
  • Dribbler bib
  • Organic cotton muslin squares
  • Comforter/soother toy
  • PlayTalkRead playmat
  • PlayTalkRead travel changing mat
  • Baby book
  • Nursing pads

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