Q “I’ve read that putting babies to sleep in boxes could help prevent cot death. Is this true, and if I use one for my new baby do I need a special box, or can I just put a baby mattress in any cardboard box?”

A Jenny Ward, director of services at the Lullaby Trust, says: “There’s been a lot in the news recently about baby boxes after two London hospitals announced they’d be handing out the boxes to new families.

“These boxes are cardboard and come with a firm foam mattress, and a waterproof mattress cover. Other kinds of baby box are plastic. While studies in other countries have suggested a link between using baby boxes and a drop in infant deaths, there’s not yet any evidence this would happen in the UK.

“The Lullaby Trust welcomes any initiative that helps parents follow our advice to keep babies safe, but we aren’t aware of a cardboard box that’s been proven to reduce the risk of SIDS.

“There’s currently no known cause of SIDS. However, research proves that by following safer sleep advice, parents can greatly reduce the chance of a baby dying.

“Putting a baby to sleep on their back on a firm, flat, waterproof mattress in their own sleep space has been a key factor in reducing the number of SIDS cases. Traditionally this has meant a Moses basket or cot, but a baby box may be a good alternative. There are many reasons parents might choose to use a box for their baby rather than a traditional cot, including cost and space issues. A box might also make a baby’s sleeping place more mobile, and help parents follow safer sleep advice.

“Whatever you choose to sleep your baby in, make sure you use a firm, flat, mattress with a waterproof cover. This is part of wider safer sleep advice that all parents are encouraged follow.”