Children‘s cartoons should not be promoted as a safe alternative to a cot or pool, experts have been warned.
The boxes, supplied with clothes and blankets and can be used as bed, are offered new mothers in Scotland and parts of England.
Experts have now raised concerns about “scarcity” of observational evidence that such sleeping objects can be used safely.
The idea of baby boxes originates from Finland where pregnant women have traditionally received a cardboard basket full of free baby care products, including a mattress that fits inside the bottom of the box to double it as a bed.
A letter published in the medical research journal BMJ says that the use of baby crates in Finland and relatively low number of child deaths is “no evidence that the boxes reduce SIDS”, otherwise called sudden childhood death syndrome.
Child death in Sweden and Denmark is as low, although they did not traditionally supply the boxes, academics and Francine Bates, CEO of safe sleep lover Lullaby Trust, allowed.
The authors also raised concerns about the “lack of security standards in place” around the boxes and feared that the promotion of the objects could undermine current messages about sleep safety for infants.
The letter concluded: “Without supporting evidence, the carton container should not be promoted as a comparable alternative to cots, pools or Moses baskets, but as a temporary replacement unless otherwise available – if the device meets approved safety standards.
” We encourage rigorously controlled studies to better understand how families use the cardboard box and its security implications. “
Lullaby Trust has previously warned that while a box may be a better alternative than sleeping with a baby in dangerous circumstances, there is no evidence to link its use to a reduction in infant mortality or SIDS.
Child Death is a unexplained death in a child usually occurs during sleep and is the most common cause of death between one month and one year.
About 90% of cases occur before six months.