Monday, June 27, 2005

Registering Baby -- makes her a consumer, too!

All Finnish babies receive a social security number at birth. We didn't even have to do anything - we found out Peanut's social even before we left the hospital.

The maternity hospitals are required to report all births to the National Population Registry (Väestörekisteri) within 24 hours of their birth. The Registry then generates the number and registers the baby with the appropriate Magistrate (Maistraati) and if the mother is a member of the Luthern or Orthodox church, then also with their local church. The first part is the same for all babies - it consists of the birth day, month and year. This is followed by a letter and then a three digit number and letter which are unique for every individual. This number is extremely important in Finland as its your national identification which is used to identify you for virtually everything throughout your life in Finland.

Within a week, a form is sent to your home with the details. This is also the form you use to register the child's name, mother tongue and to register her with the church once christened. The mother tongue selection plays a role later when baby starts school as every child is entitled to a certain amount of education in her mother tongue.

Companies also take advantage of discovering new little consumers in the National Population Registery where they can evidently buy mailing lists of newborns' mothers. In the past few weeks we've recieved several offers in the mail for subscriptions to baby book clubs, the Libero diaper club (which we joined -- bring on the diaper discounts!!!) and Super K-Market baby club (which we also joined -- again, awaiting discount coupons). I suspect there will be more offers dropping through our mailslot in the coming weeks.

I personally don't mind the chance to join these baby clubs. As a first time mom, I read almost everything and anything about newborns often picking up hints and tidbits of information. Especially being away from home, I find alot of information in printed materials in Finland. And, as mentioned above, discounts and free samples always welcome. Sometimes I have found the consumer marketing environment in Finland under developed as compared to the US and am pleased to see this sector works. When marketing is appropriately targeted and useful, its doing its intended work - informing and often leading to trial and purchase.

Some other free baby clubs - several offering free webpages for you to post your own baby pics, etc: (baby food company) (can order baby care pamphlets) (diapers) for the Napero Club -a benefit for Plussa card holders

1 comment:

Maiju said...

Birth registration

As everybody read registrating a baby in Finland (and I guess in other western countries) is easy and comes naturally but every third baby born in the world doesn't get registrated which is a big problem because those children don't exist officially. They don't have legal right for health care, education and states protection. They are also easy targets for child labour and human trade.

I just returned from Peru where I heard that it's sometimes very difficult for parents to get their children registrated. It costs something (too much for the poorest people living in slums) and a place to get a child registrated can be very far away.

I hope everyone who reads this would go and sign in a campaign for asking national governments to act on getting everyone registrated! It's an easy way to help the children in development countries. It will take you 30 seconds to do it.

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