With European elections coming up in May 2019, you probably want to know how the European Union impacts your daily life, before you think about voting. In the latest in a series of posts on what Europe does for you, your family, your business and your wellbeing, we look at what Europe does for babies.
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Your baby is special. The European Union helps babies’ parents and guardians through measures aimed at children in general that always take the babies’ best interests as a primary consideration.
The EU supports babies’ right to maintain a personal relationship and direct contact with both parents, unless that is contrary to their interests. Their mothers have a right to at least 14 weeks of maternity leave, and either of their parents have a right to take at least four months of parental leave to care for them.
The EU protects also babies’ health. Their food has to be safe and meet high standards, such as no detectable presence of pesticide residues. Their toys have to respect high safety requirements, especially regarding the use of chemicals. Their mothers are not allowed to work at night or in conditions that would jeopardise their babies’ health while pregnant, breastfeeding, or having just given birth.
Furthermore, the EU offers policy and financial support to improve early childhood education and care. It helps to increase the quantity and quality of childcare facilities and offers support for staff development. The EU also finances research on how to create services that best meet babies’ needs.
Finally, babies benefit from EU law and funding that addresses different forms of violence (e.g. sexual abuse and exploitation, human trafficking). And if a baby should go missing, the EU has launched a hotline number (116000).
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- EPRS publication on maternity, paternity and parental leave in the EU, 2017, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_BRI(2017)599323
- Handbook on European law relating to the rights of the child, http://fra.europa.eu/en/publication/2015/handbook-european-law-child-rights
- European Commission website on the rights of the child, https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/justice-and-fundamental-rights/rights-child_en