Parents and health professionals both feel Scotland’s baby boxes are working well, according to an analysis of the scheme.
The Scottish Government initiative launched four years ago, providing newborns with a number of essential items inside a box which also doubles as a sleeping space for babies.
The Government commissioned polling firm Ipsos Mori to examine the impact of the boxes, with researchers contacting 2,236 parents and 870 health visitors, midwifes and nurses between June 2019 and the autumn of 2020.
It found 91% of parents agreed the boxes had saved them money, while 76% of health professionals felt the scheme was effective in delivering essential items to families.
Parents said the thermometers included in the boxes were the most useful items, with health professionals also rating these as the most important.
Some 39% of parents had used the box for sleeping, while 61% had not.
Most parents (87%) already had another sleep space when they received their baby box.
Among the 13% who did not, 69% had used the baby box for their baby to sleep in.
Uptake of the boxes was said to be very high at over 90%, while 37% of parents felt they had learned about bonding with their baby through playing, talking and reading as a result of receiving the box.
So far around 186,000 baby boxes have been delivered, the Scottish Government said.
Children’s minister Clare Haughey said: “The baby box is part of our commitment to making sure that every child, no matter what their circumstances, has the best start in life.
“I am delighted that so many parents continue to value the box, and that they and their babies are benefitting from it and its contents.
“It is encouraging to see that the positive impacts of the baby box are felt right across all families, but particularly among first-time parents, younger parents and families on lower incomes.
“This evaluation really highlights the positive impact it is having on parents and their newborns – a fitting tribute on its fourth birthday.”
Jackie Tolland, from Parent Network Scotland, said: “As a parenting organisation, we were delighted to be part of the launch of the baby box in 2017.
“Since then, we have heard many stories about how helpful and very much needed the baby box has been to families.
“We continue to promote the baby box and thank the Scottish Government for keeping parents in mind at the start of their parenting journey. We appreciate all the support.”