According to the South China Morning Post, China's lack of a unified welfare system or a medical scheme children adds to the problem. Each year, an estimated 10,000 children are abandoned in China, and it’s not just newborns who are left at the so-called “abandon baby islands, says SCMP. They range in age from babies to six-year-olds. Contrary to stereotypes, more boys have been left than girls, the paper says.Share
China, however, is not alone in this practice. Some nations that do have welfare and more readily equipped medical systems also provide baby hatches. Germany, for example, has over 80 baby hatch facilities—also known as Babyklappen. Switzerland had just one baby hatch serving in the country in 2012, but has recently installed three more, Swiss Info reports. In Switzerland, the biological mother or father can reclaim their child for at least a year, until the point that it is adopted by a new family.
The United Nations, however, has raised concern about the growing number of baby hatches in Europe. According to the Guardian, the U.N. argues that “that baby hatches violate key parts of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which says children must be able to identify their parents and even if separated from them the state has a ‘duty to respect the child's right to maintain personal relations with his or her parent.’”
Canada, too, has its own version of baby hatches, called baby boxes. Two hospitals in Alberta recently installed baby boxes, CBC News reports, and the country’s first baby box facility opened in 2010, in Vancouver. So far, however, the boxes have largely remained empty. Unlike China, as of May 2013 only one child had ever been left in the original Vancouver baby box. (Read more.)