Baby ‘found in dumpster’ actually rescued in Syria after earthquake

14 February 2023
What was claimed

A baby was found abandoned in a dumpster in Nuneaton.

Our verdict

False. The baby pictured was found under the rubble in Syria following the earthquake.

Dozens of Facebook posts shared in local community groups claim that a day-old baby was recently found “in a dumpster” in critical condition and that authorities are looking for its parents. This is not true.

Many of the posts were shared in groups for towns and cities in the US, but we also found them being shared in UK groups for Nuneaton, Colehill, Weston-super-Mare and Middlesbrough and Teesside. Some name the local area as being where the baby was found, and others don’t.

But the image of the baby used in the posts is actually of a baby girl born in a collapsed building in Syria following the recent earthquake there. 

According to the news agency AP, her mother had given birth to her under the rubble before dying shortly afterwards, and the newborn was the only surviving family member. After the baby was rescued, a neighbour cut the umbilical cord before taking her to a hospital in the nearby town of Afrin.

The doctor treating her, Dr. Hani Maarouf, estimated she was born a few hours before she was found, given the amount her temperature had dropped. He added that she had been moving her arms and legs normally and that the “only concern is the bruise on her back, and we have to see whether there is any problem with her spinal cord”.

We frequently see posts like this, where multiple accounts post appeals about allegedly missing or found children, elderly people, dogs and babies in local Facebook groups. Often they turn off comments to stop people from pointing out that they are fake, garner hundreds of reactions and shares, then when they have gone viral, the original poster changes the text to advertise surveys or other websites. 

They almost always use stolen pictures, usually taken from media reporting. In this case, they used pictures from the earthquake that affected Turkey and Syria. We have also written about content that falsely claims to show the aftermath, as often happens after disasters and major world events. 

It’s always worth checking whether content is real before you share it. We have written a guide on how to verify viral videos which you can read here.

Image courtesy of Kevin Butz

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