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Finland is really good at keeping babies alive. Here's one reason why.

FACT: Parenting is really hard. Finland knows how to make it slightly easier.

Finland is really good at keeping babies alive. Here's one reason why.

I have two children. Keeping them alive is something I haven't failed completely at. Yet.

They both are still totally functioning. I haven't scarred them too badly. I think.


She's still alive today, three years later.

When you have your first kid, things can feel overwhelming.

Once you realize that this little person is really in your life, things can get pretty real.

Me trying to make sure that my kid survives Christmas. He is also still alive, six years later.

But Finland has figured out a way to make that first year of baby survival easier. A baby box.

As the BBC reported, it's a pretty simple thing. A cardboard box you can put your baby in. Seriously. They started doing it back in 1938 for low-income families who couldn't afford cribs.

Did I say put a baby in there? I did. Photo by Annika Söderblom/Kela.

As long as the mother goes to a prenatal visit within four months of becoming pregnant, the family is given a choice. They can choose either a stipend or the baby box (and the stipend goes up when you have twins or triplets). And 95% of Finnish families go with the baby box.

Yeah, that's right. They put their babies in it.

A baby in a box (with a tiny mattress), sleeping comfortably and not peeing on you. YET. Image by Milla Kontkanen.

How helpful is the box really?

It's kind of a big deal. Back in the '30s, Finland had an extraordinarily high infant mortality rate. Then they brought out the boxes to support low-income families. They were a game changer.

The U.S. has over double Finland's infant mortality rate, particularly among low-income families. (Man, imagine if we did this.)

It's not just a box, either. It's a box filled with a surprising amount of stuff.

It comes stocked with all kinds of goodies. Clothes in different sizes to last the first year of a child's life. Reusable diapers. Bibs. A thermometer. A baby book. Even condoms so you don't accidentally have another one too quickly.


The contents of a baby box, aka everything you need to make sure your baby has a good start when they start barfing on you. Photo by Annika Söderblom/Kela.

AND as a bonus, the clothes are all gender-neutral colors. So they can be passed down to the next kid, regardless of their gender.

It's become a thing people look forward to and celebrate.

Then when they get their baby boxes, they party.

Future Finnish parents who haven't been broken yet by the unrelenting psy-ops campaign their adorable offspring will soon be unleashing upon them. Photo by Miika Niemelä.

You can learn more about the baby boxes via this MSN video.

Can you imagine if every baby, in every country, regardless of their parent's wealth, got the same starter kit?

Now that's something to drool on your bib about. Read more at the Finish agency's website.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less