Frantic police have smashed a window to rescue a seemingly unconscious baby from a locked vehicle, only to find it was a extremely life-like doll.
The embarrassing mistake made in Australia last week is not an isolated incident and passionate creator of the “reborn” baby dolls Vynette Cernik knows just how easily they can be mistaken for the real thing.
Ms. Cernik said last week’s case of mistaken identity mirrored a similar incident in the US when the window of a new Hummer was broken by police trying to rescue a “baby” that turned out to be a doll belonging to the owner’s wife.
Selling for up to $1000, the painstakingly hand-painted dolls were so lifelike with eyelashes, fingernails, milk spots and wispy hair that they were constantly fooling people, Ms. Cernik said.
“They’re even weighted to feel like a baby’s weight and they flop like a baby,” she said.
The dolls can even come with umbilical cords, cord clamps and their own birth certificates.
“They are so realistic, people do become attached to them,” Ms. Cernik said.
“You don’t stop playing with dolls because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing with dolls.
“People do have to be careful when they go out with them. I tell them to hold them properly, not dangle them by one leg or something, because other people do think they are real babies and become alarmed.”
Ms. Cernik said she felt sorry for the police and the members of the public distressed by the situation and suggested owners should put warning cards on the dolls.
Australian Sen-Sgt Phil Edwards said last week’s incident had been frightening for both police and members of the public who genuinely believed a baby was dying.
“It was incredibly lifelike,” he said, agreeing that warning cards on the dolls might be a good idea.
He said when the car’s owners were eventually found they were “nonplussed and apologetic”.