Baby bundles arrive early for Victoria’s newborns in a push to boost reading rates
The first of the Victorian Government’s free baby bundles are packed, and ready to be delivered to first time parents across Victoria over the coming weeks.
The inaugural bundle was delivered to Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital yesterday by Victorian Minister for Health Jenny Mikakos.
The bundle deliveries will support approximately 35,000 new parents every year at all Victorian maternity hospitals, with deliveries to start in mid-July, with all the essentials new parents will need to help guide them through the first few months and years of their child’s life.
An additional benefit of the bundles will be to support parents to build safe sleeping practices, and support their child’s learning and development through regular reading and play.
Each bundle is worth $150, and is provided free of charge. The bundles contain a teething ring, nappy bag, safe sleeping bag, a cotton wrap, first aid kit, baby sunhat, toothbrush and a grow suit.
An information booklet, developed in collaboration with the Raising Children Network provides vital information on child health, safety, learning, and what to do in the event of an emergency.
More than 1,200 people responded to calls for suggestions as to which picture books should be included in the bundle. Over 330 suggestions were whittled down to a final selection of four books, all by Victorian authors:
- Baby Days by Nicola Philp
- Ten Little Owls by Renee Treml
- Puddle Hunters by Kirsty Murray and Karen Blair
- Gumtree Buddies, a soft pram book produced by Tiger Tribe
Providing new parents with the bundles supports the Victorian Government’s $213.7 million plan to give new parents the information, support and care for their family needs, with wrap around support including new parenting centres, more maternal and child health nurses and round-the-clock specialist sleep advice.
Ms Mikakos said the bundles were designed to give newborns “everything they need to thrive” with a bonus of giving some emerging Victorian authors “a big break”.
“Reading with children is one of the most powerful things families can do to help their kids get the best start in life,” she added.
More information about the bundles is available here.