Since a “baby hatch” (literally “baby safety island” in Mandarin) was put up in the city of Guangzhou some six weeks ago, it soon found itself overwhelmed with a large influx of infants.
More than 260 babies, or an average of five babies a day, have been left at the baby hatch, exceeding its capabilities to care for these newborns. Compared to other baby hatches in China, the number of babies left at the facility in Guangzhou far exceeded what they had anticipated, and has thus forced them to temporarily shut down the center.
The baby hatch was originally created to aid abandoned babies, many of whom are suffering from illnesses or disabilities and could not be cared for by their parents. Such conditions include congenital heart disease, cerebral palsy or Down’s syndrome. 67 percent of these infants, as reported by the Bureau of Civil Affairs of Guangzhou Municipality, are barely a year old. 90 percent of these babies have survived.
The baby hatch has rooms with a controlled temperature, complete with a cradle and an incubator. When a baby is abandoned at the hatch, a welfare worker soon picks him up.
According to The Philippine Star, an official statement issued last Sunday revealed that the center was housing 1,121 residents. Another 1,274 were being looked after by foster families. There are currently a total of 25 baby hatches in China, and plans to open more are underway.
•March 17, 2014. Jonathan Kaiman. “Chinese city suspends baby hatch after it is overwhelmed by unwanted children” theguardian.com
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•March 18, 2014. Euan McKirdy. “‘Baby hatch’ overwhelmed in Southern Chinese City” edition.cnn.com