PARENTS who object to the concept of putting their baby to bed in a box come round to the idea once they try it, the Scottish Government has claimed.

Minister for Childcare and Early Years Mark McDonald will hit back today after a report revealed many parents had rejected using Baby Boxes for their intended purpose in a consultation over the the £7 million a year initiative.

From this summer all pregnant women will receive a box containing around 40 items, including a reusable nappy, babygros, blankets and an organic sponge, paid for by the Scottish Government. It is based on practice in Finland, where babies have been put to sleep in boxes for decades.

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However early research commissioned by ministers found that the public in Scotland were unlikely to use the boxes to put their child to bed, and branded them embarrassing and potentially unsafe, fearing they would topple or pets would gain access to them.

Mr McDonald, who is to visit Orkney today [Thurs] to meet parents already using the boxes, said in-depth interviews with a sample of parents in Orkney and Clackmannanshire pilot areas painted a different picture.

"Some parents taking part in the pilot commented on the perceived culture barrier of putting their baby in the box, but have been positive about it once they tried it out for themselves," he said. "preliminary findings are extremely promising"

Others said they would have put their baby to sleep in the box if they hadn't already bought an alternative, and Mr McDonald said parents had welcomed the cellular blankets, new mattress included in the box as well as its size - midway between a cot and a Moses basket.

The earlier research by Kantar TNS reported that would-be parents had an "idealised image" of infants sleeping in a cot or Moses basket and while the idea of receiving a box of useful items was popular, they would not use the free cardboard containers as a bed, with only 14 per cent saying they would put their child there at night.

The research also warned that a decision to provide reusable nappies, rather than disposable ones and to exclude bottle-feeding related items - to help encourage breastfeeding - would be counter productive.

Kantar TNS said: "There is a significant risk of the overall positivity being undermined by the perceived hidden agenda of not including bottle feeding-related items and only including reusable nappies."

The Government argues the use of baby boxes in Finland may be linked to lower infant mortality rates, with supporters of the concept believing boxes can cut the risk of cot death.

Mr Mcdonald added: "It's fantastic to hear the Baby Box is encouraging parents to think about safe sleeping practices. We want all parents to make the choice that is right for them when choosing where their baby sleeps.

"We will use the lessons learnt throughout the pilot period ahead of its national rollout this summer."