PE Express

Drop safe for abandoned babies installed

Lorna Lamerton at the baby drop safe at the Methodist Church in Newton Park.Photo:KAILIN DANIELS
Lorna Lamerton at the baby drop safe at the Methodist Church in Newton Park.Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

A NEW baby drop safe has recently been installed in Newton Park to facilitate safe surrendering of babies.

This comes after the high rate of babies being dumped in bins, toilets and open fields in Port Elizabeth over the past year.

Thand’usana Babies Safe Home has taken the initiative to install the baby drop safe after generous donations from various organisations and the public.

According to Lorna Lamerton, coordinator at Thand’usana Babies Safe Home, mothers can safely give up their babies instead of discarding them in plastic bags and drains.

“This project has been so close to my heart for many years and now it has finally materialised.

“I hope that abandoned babies will get a chance to live,” Lamerton explained.

The safe has been built into a wall at the Methodist Church in Newton Park, the home of Thand’usana Babies Safe Home.

The drop safe is a postbox-like container outside the church and contains a mattress, offering a secure place for the infant to be deposited. Once the baby is safely in the container, it transmits a call to Lamerton, who will immediately respond.

“We have to follow a strict procedure when a baby has been placed in the safe.

“We have to notify the police immediately and they will take it from there. The case will be handled exactly like an abandoned baby case. The police will take the baby to the hospital. If we have space, the child will be placed with us,” Lamerton said.

The home currently has six babies.

Lamerton said, “We cannot keep them longer than six months because we form a bond with the child, which is not good for us or the baby.

“We are only allowed to care for six babies and when one gets adopted or placed into foster care, it creates a space to care for another baby.”

The SAPS detectives in Bethelsdorp recently appealed to the community in Arcadia and the surrounding areas, to assist in tracing the mother of a newborn baby who was found in Harrington Road.

According to police spokesperson, Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg, a passing motorist noticed a bag in the road and stopped.

On further investigation, a baby boy of approximately two or three days old was found inside, already dead.

“The child still had the umbilical cord attached to him. He was covered in a blanket and placed in the bag.”

In another incident, police in Port Elizabeth are looking for the mother of a newborn baby who was found dead in a dumping site in Missionvale recently.

Spokesperson, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, said that two boys who were playing in the dump in Limpopo Street, discovered the baby boy.

Naidu said, “The baby was wrapped in a black bag with the umbilical cord still attached.”

Lamerton said they hope to aid those mothers in need.

“Although we have not received an abandoned baby yet, we are urging all the parents, especially those who cannot care for the child, to rather place the child in a safe place. We are here to help,” said Lamerton.

Other baby safes can be found at a safe house in Mkhuze Street, Zwide, run by Hannah’s Arms, while Forever Family Homes have one at 63 Albert Road, Walmer and another at 55 Grootboom Street, Arcadia.

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