Cost-of-living crisis shrinks care packs for new Finnish parents

Care pack may be smaller but still welcome Credit: Kela

COST-OF-LIVING crisis shrinks care packs for new Finnish parents according to government Social Security organisation Kela which has for the last 85 years given parents of newborns a useful starter pack.

Revealing details of the 2023 package it admits that the budget of €170 no longer buys as much as previously and although it applied for a €30 top up, this was not approved.

When putting together the package, Kela paid particular attention to the longevity of the products but global uncertainties and rising costs are reflected in the number of products included.

The 2023 pack contains 38 products, five less than the previous year and compared to the 2021 and 2020, the number of products has decreased by 12 and 17 respectively.

“As we can see, the package will offer a narrower selection of items” said Veera Petäjä of Kela, who coordinates the selection process.

“On a positive note, there has been significant improvement recently in the areas of social responsibility, quality and product longevity” she added.

85years ago, the package was a novel, innovative and tangible way to give a head start to low-income mothers and even now the maternity package is a way to offer support to families in good times and bad.

Importantly, two-thirds of parents continue to opt for the package over the cash benefit, a sign of its enduring popularity.

Kela has included in the new maternity package all of the essential items that the parents of an infant need in their daily lives. The products have been selected with care, paying particular attention to materials, quality and social responsibility.

The emphasis is on versatility of use and social responsibility. Of the products produced from cotton, most are made of organic cotton.

Some products are partly made from recycled material and each product must meet the safety requirements imposed by Finnish and EU law.

This year, there was no space for condoms, bibs or cuddly toys but Kela say that one of the products that customers love the most is the versatile snowsuit and the 2023 version features a Moomin pattern selected after it garnered 57.3 per cent of a vote from prospective parents.

Box can be used as a crib
Box can be used as a crib
Credit: Kela

The box that can be used as crib features a design titled Family by Aya Iwaya, showing a bear, horse, swan, grouse and other animals native to Finland and includes a mattress that fits into the box.

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