Finnish maternity package sports a new animal theme

Finland’s best known box has received a new look and its own website. The trilingual site features pictures and videos portraying the maternity package, or baby box, which was introduced 80 years ago this year.

To celebrate Finland’s centenary, young visual artists were invited to participate in a competition that sought new illustrations for the box, which can also be used as the baby’s first bed. Three winners were selected by representatives of Kela, the Finland 100 project and the advertising agency Dynamo & Son from amongst the ten entries received.

The 2018 edition of the maternity package box will feature a design by Robert Lönnqvist, which shows  a bear, a seal, an elephant, giraffe and a host of other colourful creatures. The final selection was made by a panel of child judges. Information about the selection criteria can be found on the maternity package website.

Over the decades, the maternity package has retained its position as the first social benefit that families with small children encounter. Kela gives out about 40,000 maternity packages every year. Nearly all first-time mothers choose the maternity package, and among all mothers only one third opt for the cash benefit.

Johanna Aholainen, benefits manager at Kela, says that the reason for the continued relevance of the maternity package is the attention paid to the wishes expressed by customers. She says that at the same time, it is surprising how few changes people have wanted to see over the years.

Website tells the story of the Finnish maternity package and looks to the future

Because of its significance to the health and well-being of mothers and children, the maternity package deserves its own website. Among the social benefits that Kela provides, the maternity package is without fail the one that attracts the most international interest.

According to Olga Gassen, international communications specialist, says that Kela receives a steady stream of contacts from around the world about the maternity package. She says that she has talked about the history and contents of the maternity package to dozens of journalists and hundreds of visitors.

In addition to an extensive historical overview, the website also offers visitors a look at what goes into the latest edition of the maternity package. There is also a section with answers to frequently asked questions.

Many parents use the box as an infant bed. Later on, they may put it to use as storage for baby clothes and other items. This means that the box may be used intermittently or regularly over a period of several years or even decades.

Along with the new website and the new look for the box, celebrations for the maternity package include the Baby in the Box exhibition at the Helsinki University Museum and an international seminar under the title A more equal start to life - The Finnish Maternity Package, which will be organised at the Helsinki University’s Think Corner space on 21 November 2017.

Theme website:
The Finnish maternity package – An equal start in life