Fewer babies abandoned or killed in Switzerland thanks to the baby window

Since the opening of the first baby window at Einsiedeln Hospital on May 9, 2001, the number of babies abandoned or killed in Switzerland has decreased significantly. The operators of the baby window have come to this conclusion based on an evaluation of all known cases since 1996.

All known cases of babies abandoned, found dead or left in a baby window were examined. Time intervals of five years were compared with each other. Since the first baby window was put into operation in 2001, the number of babies abandoned or killed has decreased by around 70%. Numerous lives have been saved as a result. The operators of the baby window attribute this positive development to the existence of the baby window.

18 February 2020 | Desperate Mother lays Newborn in a Baby Window

On February 18, 2020, at 4.35 pm, another newborn baby was placed in a Swiss baby window. To protect those involved, the location where the baby was left will not be named for the moment. The baby is a healthy boy, weighing 3205 g and measuring 50 cm long. He was born just a few hours previously. The little boy remains in the hospital for the time being for further medical evaluation. The mother had written him a note with a few touching words. The local Child and Adult Protection Authority (CAPA) has been informed. A legal guardian has taken on the rights and responsibilities that biological parents are customarily subject to. This is the 24th baby that has been handed in since baby windows have existed in Switzerland.

This case is particularly topical, since only a few weeks ago, a newborn baby was abandoned in the Bernese Oberland and almost froze to death. In comparison, the mother in this case dealt with the situation caringly and ensured the baby would receive the best medical care by placing him in the baby window. Obviously, she felt she needed to hide her pregnancy and the birth and could not keep the baby.

4 January 2020 | Newborn girl abandoned in Därstetten (Bern)

In the early hours of 4 January it was discovered that a mother had abandoned her newborn child, a girl, in a cardboard box the night before in an unheated maintenance depot in Därstetten (Bernese Oberland), and only covered her with a woollen blanket. A farmer found the girl, who was suffering from hypothermia, in the early hours of the morning and informed the emergency services. She was taken to the Bern cantonal hospital by helicopter. Shortly afterwards, based on tip-offs from local residents, the police were able to arrest the mother and father and remand them in custody. They face possible fines and jail sentences due to the abandonment of a defenceless child. Had the mother taken the baby to the nearest baby window (in Bern), she would not have had to face fines or criminal prosecution.

20 January 2019 | Healthy Newborn in the Baby window in Basel

On 20 January 2019, at 06:20 a.m., a healthy newborn was once again placed in the baby window at the Bethesda Hospital in Basel. The little boy was born the night before and is completely healthy. He remained in the hospital for a while for further medical clarifications. The Basel City Child and Adult Protection Authority was informed immediately. All the institutions involved in the baby window attach great importance to ensuring that the privacy of the baby and the mother is protected.

17 January 2019 | Dead Baby found in Reconvilier

On Thursday 17 January 2019 people found a dead baby in a garbage bag in Reconvilier in the Bernese Jura. Thereupon, the cantonal police put together several investigation teams that were able to locate the baby's mother within only 24 hours. Forensic examinations showed that the baby must have lived and breathed after birth. The exact cause of death is still being clarified. The mother and a man from her circle were taken into custody by the police.

26 August 2018 | New-born placed in the Baby-window at Einsiedeln Hospital

A healthy new-born was placed in the baby hatch at Einsiedeln Hospital at 11:24 a.m. on August 26th, 2018. The little girl was born that very day and will remain at the hospital temporarily for further medical observation. The Ausserschwyz Child and Adult Protection Authority has been informed immediately. A guardian has assumed the rights and obligations that normally apply to the child‘s parents. Particular care has been taken to ensure privacy for the baby and the mother.

21 September 2017 | First baby in the Basel baby window

The first baby was placed in the baby window at Bethesda Hospital in Basel. The little boy is 46 cm long and weighs 2,400 g. Since the opening of the first baby window in Einsiedeln in 2001, a total of 21 babies have been placed in baby windows in Switzerland. The baby window in Basel was opened on 26 November 2015. The mother is asked to get in touch with SHMK (helpline@shmk.ch), which can offer a confidential discussion in which the mother is offered the help she needs for life with the baby, free of charge.

24 August 2017 | Fourth baby in the baby window in Olten

On 24 August 2017 another baby was placed in the baby window at Olten Cantonal Hospital. He had been born the previous day. His mother left her child a letter written in Swiss German. She had to hide her pregnancy and his birth, she writes to her son, who is 43 cm long and weighs 1,940 g. It was on 20 February 2017 that a baby was last placed in the baby window in Olten.

20 February 2017 | Baby in Olten baby window

The little boy, measuring 48.5 cm and weighing 3,260 g, was was just a few hours old when he was placed in the baby window in Olten. The mother took a leaflet with her, which provides all the information she needs to know in ten languages. What's more, absolute confidentiality is always guaranteed. The little boy is the third baby to be taken into the care of medical staff at the Olten baby window.

11 August 2016 | Baby girl placed in the baby window in Bern

In the Lindenhofspital in Bern a newborn baby was placed in the baby window. The little girl, 3225 grams heavy and 52 cm tall, had been born the day before. It is well and remains for the time being for further medical examinations in the hospital. It is the third baby in the baby window of the Lindenhof group and the 18th, which has been laid since 2001 in a Swiss baby window.

21. July 2016 | | Baby girl placed in the baby window in Einsiedeln

A healthy new-born was placed in the baby window at Einsiedeln Hospital at 1:20 p.m. on 21 July 2016. The little girl was born that very day and will remain at the hospital temporarily for further medical observation. The Ausserschwyz Child and Adult Protection Authority was immediately informed.

14 January 2016 | Horgen – mother allows new-born to die

Between 14 and 15 January 2016 a young woman gave birth to a baby in her parents' home in the town of Horgen on Lake Zurich, then placed the child in a plastic container, covered it with laundry and hid it in a wardrobe. The child died a short while later as a result of acute heart failure, meaning the mother is now guilty of infanticide. If she had taken the baby to the nearest baby window in Einsiedeln (25 km away), the child would still be alive today and she would not be facing criminal proceedings. Placing a baby in the baby window is legal.

12 December 2015 | Two dead babies in Lucerne apartment

Shortly before Christmas, officers from Lucerne city police discovered two dead newborn twins in an apartment. According to forensic evidence, one baby exhibited head wounds, while the other died before cutting the cord. The 20-year-old mother, who is of foreign origin, was detained on remand and released again two months later subject to conditions. The Swiss foundling statistics listed on this website do not include babies who have never breathed.

In December 2015 | 33-year-old kills baby in Valais

In the district of Sierre / VS, a 33-year-old woman killed her newborn child in December 2015. She had kept her pregnancy secret and given birth to the baby alone at home in the bathroom. Only a few hours after birth, she suffocated the baby and tried to dispose of it in a garbage bag. The baby was discovered. The woman was convicted of child killing. At the time of the incident, there was still no baby window in Valais.

11 September 2015 | Baby girl placed in the baby window in Einsiedeln

A healthy new-born was placed in the baby window at Einsiedeln Hospital on 11 September 2015. The little girl was born on the same day. She showed no signs of deficiency and no hypothermia, although she was only wrapped in a towel. She is the 12th baby to be placed in the baby window at Einsiedeln and the 16th to be placed in a baby window in all of Switzerland.

18 April 2015 | Baby girl placed in the baby window in Einsiedeln

On 18 April 2015, at 17:45, a new-born baby was again placed in the baby hatch at Einsiedeln Hospital. The baby is a healthy girl, 48 cm tall and weighing 3370g. She is the 11th baby to be placed in the baby window at Einsiedeln Hospital.

19 February 2015 | Baby boy placed in the baby window in Einsiedeln

A healthy new-born was placed in the baby window at Einsiedeln Hospital on 19 February 2015. The baby is a boy who was born three days earlier. The boy is the tenth child to be placed in the baby window since 2001.

4. February 2015 | Baby girl placed in the baby window in Bern

A new-born baby girl was placed in the baby window at Linden Hospital in Berne on 4 February 2015. She is well. There is no trace of the mother. The little girl was born the night before, according to a statement by the Canton. Since the opening of the first baby window in Bern in 2013, she is the second new-born to be placed there.

28 November 2014 | Baby boy placed in the baby window in Olten

On the afternoon of 28 November 2015, at around 14:00, for the second time, a new-born was left in the baby window in Olten. The strapping boy measures 53cm and weighs 3450g. The child and adult protection authorities were informed. A short time later, the mother got in contact and declared the identity of the child.

3 August 2014 | Baby girl placed in the baby window in Olten

On 3 August 2015, a new-born baby girl was handed over to the Canton hospital in Olten. Olten Hospital had established its baby window the previous summer and this was the first time it had been used.

4 June 2014 | Baby boy placed in the baby window in Einsiedeln

A healthy new-born boy was placed in the baby window at Einsiedeln Hospital on 4 June 2014. According to the authorities, the child was born on the same day. He is the ninth child to be anonymously placed in the baby window.

26 July 2013 | Abandoned baby in the Coop toilets in Thun

Shortly before closing time on 26 July 2013, a customer found a wailing baby in the disabled toilet in the Strättlingen Coop in Thun. The police brought the days old boy to the hospital. He was healthy, but the mother was untraceable.  However, she had left behind a letter in the baby's changing bag. On 1 August 2013, the police disclosed that the mother had been located. An inquiry by the Canton police has yielded the following result, six months after the incident: “After locating the mother, the KESB has sought to find a solution with her; we are unable give any more details at this point.” said media spokesperson Simona Benovici. «The child is healthy, but on the grounds of professional confidentiality, I cannot say any more than that», added Thomas Büchler, President of KESB upon being questioned. This is due to laws regarding data and privacy protection. «We have conducted extensive reviews and searched for the best solution for the child.»

16 February 2013 | Baby boy placed in the baby hatch in Einsiedeln

A healthy new-born was placed in the baby hatch at Einsiedeln Hospital at 12:55 p.m. on 16 February 2013. The little boy was born a few days earlier and will remain at the hospital temporarily for further medical observation.

16 January 2013 | Abandoned baby boy in TicinoAbandoned baby boy in Ticino

On 16 January 2013, a baby boy was found by police in Lugano in a parked car, suffering from hypothermia, malnourished and wrapped in a plastic bag. The mother was temporarily arrested on the grounds of gross negligence as well as the disregard for her duty of care.

20 February 2012 | Baby girl placed in the baby hatch in Einsiedeln

On 20 February 2012, a little girl was placed in the baby hatch at Einsiedeln Hospital. The baby hatch is expressly intended to help mothers “in hopeless situations”. Instead of killing their child, they can place it anonymously in safe hands.

19 February 2012 | Dead girl in Wimmis

Just one day earlier, a man discovered the body of a dead new-born girl at a waste and recycling centre in Wimmis, Bern. The mother was successfully located afterwards, as later reported by the Canton police. The mother secretly gave birth to the newborn. Thereafter, it died of respiratory problems during the night. The frightened mother discarded the dead baby. She was arrested a few weeks later. However, the court acquitted her of the charge of having killed the child. Therefore, this sensational case is not included in the foundling statistics.

1 July 2011 | Dead new-born in Bellach

As compost plant warden Stefan Affolter was searching through deposited driftwood in the composting plant in Bellach on 1 July 2011, he made a gruesome discovery: between the logs lay the naked corpse of a new-born.