Sunday, June 30, 2013

Finnish Baby-Care Boxes

In Finland there is a 75 year old tradition in which the government provides expectant mothers with 'baby-boxes.' These boxes and the contents of the boxes are used to provide essential early care to the new baby.

Please read the article on Finnish baby-boxes.

Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

expectant mothers - women expecting to have a baby

the infant mortality rate - the number of babies who die per year.  If a country has a low infant mortality rate, it means the country is pretty well-developed - medical care is good etc.  A high infant mortality rate could be due to poverty, improper medical care or a number of other factors.

maternity - motherhood

to opt for - to choose

the scheme - here it means 'the plan'

municipal - city

pre-natal - pre-birth

to steer - to guide, to gently push

a nascent welfare state - beginning welfare state.  A welfare state is a state or country in which the taxes are high but there are lots of free services.  Usually education and medical care are free in a  welfare state.

to be spared the effort - to be spared something means that you don't have to do it

gender neutral - the colors can be used for boys and girls.  Gender specific colors might be blue for boys and pink for girls.

Multiple choice questions:

1.  According to the article, the baby-box is a symbol of:   a) falling infant mortality rates  b) the equality of all Finns  c)  the need for better baby care  d)  the concern of the government for its people

2.  The baby box is available to: a) expectant moms who earn less than the average income in Finland  b)  all Finnish women  c)  first-time Finnish mothers  d)  Finnish women between the ages of 18 and 35

3.  Women seem to choose the baby box over the amount of money because: a)  they want to be a part of the tradition  b)  they do not feel comfortable accepting money from the government  c)  the box and its contents are worth more than the amount of money offered  d)  they intend to use the box over and over again.

4.  A law was passed requiring expectant moms to visit a doctor before their 4th month of pregnancy if they wanted the free box. The best explanation for this is:  a) The Finnish government wanted to help encourage expectant moms to be more aware of the health needs of themselves and their babies.  b) The government wanted to promote the health care industry in Finland  c)  The Finnish government wanted to keep track of  health care data.  d)  The boxes could only be used properly after receiving the doctors advice on how to use them.

5.  Which was not listed as a factor in decreasing infant mortality rates:  a) the baby boxes  b) a centralized hospital system  c) a national health insurance system  d)  better high school education concerning hygiene and fitness.

6.  A big danger mentioned in the article which the baby-boxes help parents to avoid is:  a)  parents potentially rolling over onto the baby in a shared bed  b)  a lack of safe clothing   c)  dangers from sudden temperature changes in the house  d)   the danger of an improperly constructed crib

Answers are below:


1.  b
2.  b
3.  c
4.  a
5.  d
6.  a

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