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Indian Hospitals are using cameras, tags, lasers to curb Baby trafficking and theft

Indian hospitals are educating their staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide

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Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports
Activists of Socialist Unity Center of India-Marxist (SUCI-M) protest a recent case of child trafficking in West Bengal state in Kolkata, India, Nov. 29, 2016. Officials busted a child trafficking racket and rescued more than 20 children, according to news reports. VOA
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Hospitals in India are starting to tag newborns, mothers, and medics as well as installing extra security cameras and educating staff to spot baby thieves amid fears that baby trafficking is becoming an organized crime nationwide.

Officials said this was part of a drive starting at government hospitals in southern Tamil Nadu state to ensure nurses, doctors and visitors know of the threat of babies being stolen from maternity wards and babies being sold illegally for adoption that is baby trafficking.

At the Rajaji government hospital in Madurai, the first in Tamil Nadu to introduce the program, laser beams at exit points trigger alarms if untagged adults take babies out in order to curb baby trafficking.

“We just want to prevent the theft of babies,” N.K. Mahalakshmi, the doctor in charge of laser tagging at the hospital, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is not fool proof but a deterrent. … Our hospital staff has also been told to be extra vigilant.”

Traffickers, officials sometimes collude

Campaigners have raised concerns that traffickers are often colluding with officials to steal babies from maternity wards and illegally sell them for adoption which is baby trafficking.

Mumbai police arrested a gang for convincing single mothers to sell their babies last year, while in West Bengal police found newborns being stolen from mothers in medical clinics after staff told them that their babies were stillborn.

Dev Ananth, a child protection officer in Tirunelveli district, said the state government is investigating several cases where hospital staff persuaded mothers to sell their babies for about 10,000 Indian rupees ($156).

Tirunelveli district will put posters up in every hospital, alerting pregnant women, families, and staff to the dangers of baby trafficking in overcrowded corridors.

“Many don’t see it as a trafficking issue,” he said.

“We are going to train hospital staff to identify potential cases, including what to do if a baby is abandoned at birth. At present, the do’s and don’ts are not clear.”

No official data on baby trafficking

There is no official data on the number of babies stolen from hospitals in Tamil Nadu, but almost 180,000 children were born in government facilities in 2016, statistics show.

More than four out of 10 of human trafficking cases in India in 2015 involved children being bought, sold and exploited as modern-day slaves, according to crime figures.

“Public hospitals are vulnerable spaces where there are no effective ways to monitor access to newborn babies,” said Paul Sunder Singh of the children’s charity Karunalaya. (VOA)

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Winter Care Tips For Newborns

C. Suresh Kumar, Head Of Department - Pediatrics and Neonatology, Apollo Cradle, suggests:

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Winter care for your little ones. Pixabay

The winter season can bring some key challenges for new parents as newborns are a little more sensitive and need extra care in the cold season. Ensure their skin is well moisturised and protected, say experts.

Rajesh Vohra, CEO, Artsana India (Chicco), in assistance with Chicco Osservatorio, suggests:

* Must-have body lotions for winter: To fight dryness of baby skin in winters, selecting the perfect baby lotion can be a task for parents as babies have thin skin which loses its moisture faster in comparison to adults. Body lotion with Parabens-free formula and richness of sweet almond milk are ideal for protection and moisturising baby’s delicate skin.

* Moisturising rich cream: In winter, parents should always make sure that baby is being moisturised properly, especially the most exposed areas like face, hands and legs after bath to keep the baby’s skin soft and supple throughout the day. Good quality cream with the richness of Omega-3 and Vitamin E helps in deeply nourishing skin’s driest areas keeping it nourished all along the day.

* Nourishment through massage oil: The skin of a newborn is very gentle and requires special care each day. Massaging the baby with special baby oil that is parabens-free and enriched with high nourishing properties of rice bran oil is very beneficial for the baby’s delicate skin.

* Winter apparels, for keeping your baby warm with comfort: While shopping for babies, parents must look for certified and high quality natural fabrics which are soft and comfortable so that it does not cause rashes and discomfort to the baby.

* Protection from dry air: In winter, the humidity level drops and dry air can affect baby’s health — from nasal infection to sore throat — which they can’t even let you know, and from dry skin and cracked lips to breathing issues in some cases. A humidifier in the baby’s room adds much-needed moisture to the air and creates favourable breathing conditions, allowing your baby to sleep comfortably.

Rest practices
The skin of a newborn is very gentle and requires special care each day. Pixabay

C. Suresh Kumar, Head Of Department – Pediatrics and Neonatology, Apollo Cradle, suggests:

* Take Care of the skin: Do not apply too much of soap and leave it on the body for long as it dries up the skin causing irritation. Bath duration should not exceed 5 minutes in order to prevent over hydration of skin which may lead to easy fragility of skin and decrease threshold of injury.

* Give a quick bath: As baby skin is very thin and fragile you should dab rather than vigorously rubbing which results in damage to superficial layers of skin. Finish bath quickly.

Also Read- I Would Love to Bring Wonder Woman Alive on Big Screen: Yami Gautam

* Include fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet to keep skin healthy: Fresh vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables and fresh fruits like apples, bananas and oranges, should be given to increase immunity and health of the skin.

* Keep the child warm: Make sure the baby is warm inside the home. Your baby should be well covered while you take him/her out in the winter and must be covered in woollen clothes, socks and mittens (if there’s any allergy or irritation, use cotton). The child should not be exposed to cold winds which cause can cause cold, cough and pneumonia.

* Keep the skin moist: Always try to keep the baby skin moist. Apply moisturiser within a few minutes after the bath. Since the skin is very delicate, use moisturisers that contain coconut oil, olive oil and almond oil. This will also nourish the skin. (IANS)