MIDWIVES delivering babies across the North-East are among the first in the country to encourage new mothers to learn more about baby health and safety.

Country Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust have teamed up with an international charity dedicated to reinforcing key safety messages to new and future parents to ensure their child has the healthiest start in life.

The Baby Box Co offers online advice in bite-size sections, which each end in a series of questions to help parents check they have absorbed and understood the section.

The site has been developed in partnership with medical experts and all topics relate to pregnancy, safe sleep, breastfeeding, maternal mental health and parenthood.

Activities for early child development are also available, such as brain developing activities to carry out with your baby.

Once all the sections have been completed, parents qualify to receive a free Baby Box containing a variety of items such as nappies and baby wipes.

The sturdy box, which can be collected from midwives at anti-natal appointment, includes a high quality mattress and mattress cover that will come in useful once the baby arrives.

The box can also be used as a travel cot or kept at a relatives home and used on visits.

Laura Hamilton, midwifery team leader at Country Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The charity was originally set up with the aim of reducing sudden infant death syndrome, or cot death, by providing antenatal and postnatal education and knowledge around areas such as safe sleeping.

"Sadly, it’s not known why some babies die suddenly and for no apparent reason but experts do know placing a baby to sleep on their back reduces the risk, and allowing them to overheat increases the risk.

"Offering the Baby Box reinforce these important messages which can help save lives.

"Families are overwhelmingly welcoming both the online course and the baby box."

Nikki Brodhurst, who is expecting her first baby in March, said the "helpful" and included sections she had not considered, included car seat safety standards.