“Baby hatches are a means of reaching out to mothers in difficulty who feel they have no choice but to abandon their baby, giving them support and solidarity in the hope that such desperate actions can be prevented and the lives of such small, defenceless human creatures can be saved”.
Mariavittoria Rava, chairman of the Fondazione Francesca Rava
Baby hatches are today’s technologically advanced version of the medieval “foundling wheel”. They are a place specifically designed to allow mothers in difficulty to leave their babies in a safe and protected environment fully respecting the child and of the privacy of the person abandoning it.
The ninna ho cot is placed in an easy to reach and outlying part of the hospital, in a room equipped with and external devices to make it easy for mothers to use and for emergency treatment to be provided.
In Italy there are numerous other non-ophthalmic structures that help mothers in difficulty and have baby hatches.
How the baby hatch works
The baby hatch is equipped with special sensors and is under constant video surveillance to check exactly when a baby is deposited in the thermal cot inside the hatch.
The cot is behind a thermally insulated rolling shutter and outside the hatch there is an intercom connected directly with the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a pushbutton which opens the shutter of the hatch. Once the baby is deposited in the cot the shutter closes automatically insuring warmth and safety.
An alarm alerts medical staff immediately so that the child will be transferred as quickly as possible in a portable incubator to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where it will receive all necessary medical care and attention.
The baby will be admitted to the hospital following the same procedure as that used for babies not recognized by their parents at birth in the hospital maternity ward, and the procedure for adoption will be activated in exactly the same way.