PARENTS can now view the full contents of the Scottish Government’s baby boxes online as registration for the nationwide roll-out begins.

Under the scheme, based on a long-running Finnish initiative, all babies due on or after August 15 2017 will receive a box of items to support parents and promote a fair and equal start for all children in Scotland.

The final research of a successful pilot scheme in Orkney and Clackmannanshire have also been published, and have helped inform the logistics and contents of the initiative. The government said the responses had been positive, with some suggestions for improvement already implemented for national delivery.

Childcare and early years minister Mark McDonald said: “The feedback we have had from the baby box pilot has been extremely useful in our planning for nationwide delivery.

"As a result we are now providing information at initial midwife appointments, registration is taking place earlier and delivery is also being brought forward to allow parents more time to familiarise themselves with the box before their baby is born.

“The research also showed that the idea of the box was widely welcomed, although there were differing views on whether it should be targeted at specific groups such as low -income families or first-time parents.

“It is great to see that the pilot findings confirm parents were generally extremely positive about the quality and range of the contents of the baby box.”

The baby boxes were hailed by Mary Ross-Davie, director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, as giving “babies born in Scotland the best possible start in life”.

She added: “These boxes help to promote a crucial message for new parents about safe sleeping for their babies and will hopefully encourage parents to place babies on their back when putting them to sleep.

“Giving these baby boxes will also help new parents, particularly at a time when personal finances may be stretched, and there are many people in Scotland who need this support.”

The contents of the boxes include clothes, bedding and toys.