Nicola Sturgeon has pledged that, from New Year's Day 2017, every new baby in Scotland will receive a free 'baby box'.

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The Nordic-style box will be a kind of a starter kit for parents. It contains clothes, toys, nappies and other baby essentials– and the sturdy cardboard box itself comes with a built-in mattress, so the baby can safely sleep in it for the first 3 to 4 months.

In Finland, every new mum has been given a similar box for the last 75 years – and it's largely credited with helping Finland reduce its infant death rate from 10% to 0.2%. The box is seen as one of the country's leading preventative measures against 'cot death', as it makes it easier for a baby to sleep in the same room as the parents for the first 6 months (a key safe-sleep recommendation, along with always putting a baby down to sleep on his or her back).

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While Scotland's infant death rate is not at alarming levels – it's almost as low as Finland's is now, at 0.37% – Nicola says she hopes handing out free baby boxes will have a 'real impact' and help support poorer families as they become parents.

"The baby box is such a simple idea but has been shown to have a real impact, reducing child mortality and helping families at the start of a child’s life," Nicola told the Daily Record newspaper back in April, when the baby-box plan was first floated.

"By providing every newborn with a baby box, we can help child health – and by providing greater support to new families, we will also help to tackle child poverty and improve the chances of some of our most deprived children."

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Photos: The Baby Box Co and Getty

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