Should The U.S. Adopt Finland’s ‘Baby Box’ For New Parents?
When it comes to maternity leave, The United States earns a pretty dismal ranking when compared to other countries, being the only first-world country, and one of only three countries (the others being Lesotho, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea) that does not offer paid maternity leaves. Not only do other countries have better systems in place for maternity leave, but they have some pretty great welcoming gifts for their newest citizens. In Finland, for example, new parents can choose between receiving the above maternity package filled with essentials for baby's first few months or a tax-free lump sum of 140 euros as a maternity grant.
Included in the maternity package is all sorts of great stuff: A snowsuit, hats, boots, sleeping bag, blankets, diapers, bodysuits, sleepers, pants, mattress covers, bibs, bra pads for mom, books, a toy, a thermometer, towel, baby nail clippers, a wash cloth, diaper cream, a toothbrush and more. It's like a baby shower in a box, a box the Finnish site outlining the maternity package says can also be used as a crib:
Finland's tradition of sending new parents a starter kit dates back to the 1930s when it was first made available to low-income mothers, but was opened up to all new mothers in the 1940s. The package is available to adoptive parents as well.
Here in the States? New parents are given the gift of a hefty hospital bill to pay off.
What do you think, should something similar to Finland's maternity package be offered in the U.S.? Ultimately, it's something that would have to be paid for. Would you be willing to pay more in taxes for a similar program to be adopted here?