Around the thirteenth century, Pope Innocent III instituted a wondrous system. At the hospital of Santo Spirito, one could find a ‘baby box.’
Now… what is a baby box?
It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A baby box is a turntable in the outer wall of the building where one could place his or her unwanted child.
The idea was that the child would be taken in by the Church, named and educated so that one day that child could stand up on his or her own two feet and galavant off into the distance.
The practice still exists in same shape or form today. And the UN has expressed some concern over this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/10/unitednations-europe-news
Oddly enough, my neighbor and I used to play with a polly-pocket-sized plastic baby and we would place it in a tiny red box labeled “baby box” for safe-keeping. How very unintentionally historical I was at the age of nine.