Russia opens 'baby box' to drop off newborn babies

New Russian baby box 
By: Sanvi Rizvi 

Russia this week opened another baby box were parents can abandon their newborn babies without facing any legal problems, according to reports.

A box in which parents can leave their children without any legal risk, anonymously opened Wednesday, in a village in northwestern Russia. It is part of an effort that activists hope to save the lives of many newborn babies.

The baby box in Kirishi, an industrial town 60 miles or 100 kilometers east of St. Petersburg, is the tenth installation of this type in Russia. Experts believe that this is only a fraction of what is truly needed.

"Even if only one child is saved in this way it will be worth it," Tatiana Sobolevskya said. She is the deputy head of the Kirishi maternity hospital, where the baby box is located. Muravlev Nikolai, a Russian Orthodox priest, came to bless and praise the box as an island of safety.

Once the baby is placed in the box, the door closes and a nurse is alerted by a signal. There are no security cameras, so parents can leave their children anonymously. An information booth nearby urges parents to reflect on their decision and offers support contact numbers.

Kolybel Nadezhdy of Cradle of Hope, a nongovernmental organization launched the baby box idea. They said that the baby box should help attract national attention on the issue. Its head, Yelena Kotova, said more than a dozen babies are abandoned in Russia each month, according to official statistics, but she said the real figures are believed to be at least three times higher.

Russian police have registered 268 cases of murders of newborns by their mothers in the period 2010 to 2011, and in the Russian media, there have been regular reports of babies found in dumpsters, forests or snow.