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22. September 2017

First Baby Placed in Basel Baby Hatch


On the afternoon of 21 September 2017, at 13.53, a newborn baby was placed in the baby hatch at the Bethesda Hospital in Basel. The baby, a boy, is healthy and doing well. He is 46cm long and weighs 2.4kg. He is the 21st baby to have been placed in a baby hatch in Switzerland. The Child and Adult Protection Agency (KESB) of Basel-Stadt has been informed. A legal guardian is now assuming the rights and obligations that normally apply to a child's parents. The baby hatch at Bethesda Hospital was opened on 26 November 2015.

The mother of the child may notify the KESB Basel-Stadt (kesb@bs.ch, Tel. 00 41 61 267 47 43) or the Swiss Aid for Mother and Child Foundation, SMHK (helpline@shmk.ch, Tel. 00 41 800 811 100) to establish contact with the child. The child will also be grateful to her later on if she leaves information about her origin and the circumstances of the birth. She is guaranteed absolute confidentiality. The SMHK can provide her with free advice – as well as material and financial assistance – on how to find the best solution for herself and her child. To protect everyone involved and with a view to official and professional secrecy, data protection and personal rights, neither the Basel-Stadt KESB, Bethesda Hospital nor the SHMK can provide more information on this case.

An Offer of Help in Extreme Emergencies
The baby hatch offers mothers an anonymous way to hand over their child in extreme emergency situations to a place of safe, medical care. This is intended to prevent the abandonment of children or even infanticide, both of which have occurred repeatedly in the past.

No Criminal Consequences
Mothers who place their babies in the baby hatch are not guilty of abandonment per article 127 of the Swiss Criminal Code. Nor do they violate article 219 of the Swiss Criminal Code, which requires parents to care for and nurture their children. If the mother does not get in touch requesting the baby is returned to her, the baby will be handed over to a carefully selected adoptive family after three months. Even then, the birth mother can still reclaim her baby. Adoption will only take place if the child has lived with the adoptive parents for at least one year.

21st Baby in a Swiss Baby Hatch
A total of 21 babies have been placed in Swiss baby hatches since the first one opened on 9 May 2001 in Einsiedeln. Until 2012, the Einsiedeln baby hatch remained the only one in Switzerland. Since then, baby hatches have been opened in various other regions (see www.babyfenster.ch). The 20th baby was placed in the baby hatch at Olten Cantonal Hospital on 24 August 2017.