Baby-box death in Germany blamed on wrong instructions

10th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

The tragic death a week ago of a newborn baby outside one of Germany's "baby-box" foundling collection points was blamed on a a mistake in instructions.

10 January 2008

Hanover, Germany (dpa) - The tragic death a week ago of a newborn baby outside one of Germany's "baby-box" foundling collection points was blamed Wednesday on an instruction on the door saying "Pull."

"But if you just pulled, it would not open. You had to push it first," said Kathrin Soefker, a spokeswoman for prosecutors studying who was to blame for the death by exposure of baby Moses.

Germany has about 80 baby boxes, mainly set up by Christian groups, who care for abandoned babies either until the mothers reclaim them or the children are put up for adoption. The idea is controversial, but proponents say it prevents infanticide.

Moses was found dead after a sub-freezing night on the path next to the heated box outside a hospital in the German city of Hanover. His mother has not been traced.

Soefker said experts would be engaged to analyse why the "pull" instruction did not work, whether the cold affected the latch, and if anyone was culpable.

Lutheran bishop Margot Kaessmann said, "If it turns out that the person leaving the baby could not open the latch, it's tragic."

She said seven other babies had been left since 2001 in the box, so the latch did work.

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