Baby Drop-Off Boxes Spread Across Europe

The BBC on a burgeoning recession-era parenting technique — towns provide a box in which struggling parents may stick babies they are incapable of caring for:

Boxes where parents can leave an unwanted baby, common in medieval Europe, have been making a comeback over the last 10 years. Supporters say a heated box, monitored by nurses, is better for babies than abandonment on the street – but the UN says it violates the rights of the child.

There is a stainless steel hatch with a handle. Pull that hatch open and there are neatly folded blankets for a baby. The warmth is safe and reassuring. There is a letter, too, telling you whom to call if you change your mind.

Critics say that baby boxes are a throwback to the past when the medieval church had what were called “foundling wheels” – round windows through which unwanted babies could be passed.

Pychologist Kevin Browne of Nottingham University told the BBC: “Studies in Hungary show that it’s not necessarily mothers who place babies in these boxes – that it’s relatives, pimps, step-fathers, fathers. Therefore, the big question is: are these baby boxes upholding women’s rights, and has the mother of that child consented to the baby being placed in the baby box?”

6 Comments on "Baby Drop-Off Boxes Spread Across Europe"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Jun 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    Two observations:

    1.  This is, bar none, the saddest evidence to date of society’s indiference to itself in its crack-like addiction to free market ideologies and austerity fantasies.  Any *ss who jokes about this deserves to rot in Hell.

    2.  That said, David Cameron may be passing up a real opportunity to monetize this thing and make charity pay for itself.  What about selling shares in the baby boxes?  Back market sales of presentable white babies can bring Mucho Dinero, and it seems a shame to deny capitalists the chance to turn this thing to a profit.

    •  You realize they mention this being practiced during medieval times, right? Or do you just read headlines?

      • Liam_McGonagle | Jun 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

        Indeed–by the world’s largest corporation, Mother Church.

        But seriously, what is your point?  Does the fact that people were poor in the middle ages because of an economy run by armed warlords have any impact on my comment, written in the context of a people impoverished by warlords armed mainly with licenses to operate banks?

        Or did you just want to bring up the barely relevant topic of the middle ages?  Are you writing this from your phone at a Renaissance fair?

  2. Well, I’m sure the chruch would prefer this over abortion. Personally I think it’s hard to judge this as right or wrong, obviously the cause for this is beyond wrong, but if a parent can’t look after the child it is a better alternative than others… On that note and as the article says no one can know who’s “dumping” the child and for what reason, has the mother consented the action or tried to find assistance for her and the child? It’s a difficult situation and a terrible world to allow actions like this to take place.

  3. Marklar_Prime | Jun 29, 2012 at 4:55 am |

     Thus was the world food shortage problem solved through the invention of soylent veal.

  4. PersonMcPerson | Jul 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

    How difficult is it to place a child up for adoption the proper way? If we just give kids away how will they ever know of their medical history? Psychologists such as Erikson believe even in the early stages of development children are development trust vs mistrust. Infants will be effected (likely negatively) by this type of abandonment. The only person this system benefits is the person who drops the kid off, because now their hands are clean. It sounds to me like they just want an easy fix to a difficult problem. A problem which is directly caused by homelessness, poverty, and high cost of living. Not to mention a product of a desensitized sick society that is only self-involved. 

Comments are closed.