It never struck me that it was a culture here to touch babies who belong to strangers until I had a baby myself. When I first shared about a waiter at So Pho (Clementi Mall) who had the audacity to kiss (yes, not just touch!!!) baby R without any warning on my igstories, I received a deluge of direct messages from fellow mummies who empathized with me and told me they shared similar experiences. In my case, I told the waiter and the manager off right away but many mummies were shocked beyond words and couldn’t react in time.

Some mummies told me that they’re afraid of offending people who touch their babies as they are just friendly souls who probably mean no harm. But  what truly bothers me is the issue of awareness over here. Isn’t it common sense that babies are the most vulnerable to diseases?

I’m sick and tired of having to avoid strangers who can’t wait to lay their hands on baby R.
I don’t know where you’ve been, what you’ve touched and if your hands or mouth are clean before you happily reach over to touch my baby. There have been actual cases of babies dying from cold sores because of an “innocent” kiss from a stranger. In fact, more than half the population carries the oral herpes virus. Did you know that when this virus is passed on to a baby through what you may think is just a kiss, it can cause serious illness or even death? Our hygiene awareness surely isn’t on par with our economic development (most people still choose not to wear a mask when they’re sick) and I’m not sure if that could be one of the causes of the HFMD outbreak here in recent years.

Also, just because babies can’t defend themselves yet doesn’t mean that you can treat them any way you wish. Babies are not toys. They are little human beings and should be treated with respect. How would you feel if a stranger suddenly came up to you on the streets and pinched your cheeks, let alone give you a kiss just because he or she thought you were cute? Wouldn’t that be akin to molest?

We all know how difficult it is to care for babies, even more so when they are not in the best of health. So please spare a thought to the next parent you see on the street. No matter how cute his or her baby may be, exercise some self-control and do not, I repeat, do not, reach over to touch the baby without the parent’s consent.