Baby Hatch

A baby hatch is a place where mothers can bring their babies, usually newborn, and leave them anonymously in a safe place to be found and cared for. This kind of arrangement was common in mediaeval times and in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the device was known as a foundling wheel. Foundling wheels were taken out of use in the late 19th century but a modern form, the baby hatch, began to be introduced again from 1952 and since 2000 has come into use in many countries, notably in Germany where there are around 100 hatches and in Pakistan where there are over 300 today.

The hatch is known in German-speaking countries as a Babyklappe (baby hatch or flap), Babyfenster (baby window) or Babywiege (baby cradle); in Italian as Culla per la vita (life cradle); in Sicilian as la ruota (the wheel); in Japanese as こうのとりのゆりかご (storks' cradle) or 赤ちゃんポスト (baby post); in Mandarin Chinese as 婴儿安全岛 (baby safety island) and in Polish as Okno życia (window of life).

The hatches are usually in hospitals or social centres and consist of a door or flap in an outside wall which opens to reveal a soft bed, heated or at least insulated. Sensors in the bed alert carers when a baby has been put in it so that they can come and take care of the child. In Germany, babies are first looked after for eight weeks during which the mother can return and claim her child without any legal repercussions. If this does not happen, after eight weeks the child is put up for adoption.

Read more about Baby Hatch:  History, Reasons For Using Baby Hatches, Legal Aspects, International Situation

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