A BAN on visitors peering at other people's new-born babies has been defended by Halifax hospital chiefs.
They said the ban at the Calderdale Royal Hospital was to prevent infection in the special care baby unit.
The ruling stops people asking questions about other people's babies or looking at them in maternity wards.
Managers at the hospital said the move was necessary to prevent visitors gawping at new-born babies or quizzing the mothers.
A spokeswoman for the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust said the advice was given in relation to the special care baby unit and was as much to do with reducing infection as it was upholding "rights".
She added: "Staff held an advice session to highlight the need for respect and dignity for all patients and the potential risk of infection in vulnerable infants, to new mums and their families.
"Staff wanted to highlight issues of potential confidentiality, especially for young babies and their parents in what can be emotional times.
"Infection control was also a key part of the message, as the unit deals with very small babies with very vulnerable immune systems."
The point has been illustrated on one ward with a doll featuring the message: "What makes you think I want to be looked at?"
Debbie Lawson, neo-natal manager at the special care baby unit, said even babies had a right to privacy.
She added: "We know people have good intentions and most people cannot resist cooing over new babies, but we need to respect the child.
"These are little people with the same rights as you or me.
"We often get visitors wandering over to peer into cots. But people sometimes touch or talk about the baby like they would if they were examining tins in a supermarket.
"That should not happen."