Last week, police reported that a baby was abandoned in a dumpster in California. Jorge Miranda (below right) found the baby when he was looking for cans and bottles to sell for recycling. The baby was wrapped in a towel, underneath pizza boxes and plastic bags.
A man named Jimmy Alvarez heard Miranda shouting for help outside. Alvarez said of Miranda, who speaks limited English, “He was shocked, he was scared.” Then, Alvarez went over to help and wrapped the child in his own shirt while his wife called 911. He asked the paramedics if he could name the child “Milagros” because it means ‘miracle.
Miranda brought the baby to his wife who held the baby and massaged her chest. She was only a few hours old and still had her umbilical cord hanging when he found her. The California police are still looking for the infant’s mother.
Emergency responders provided first aid and rushed the child to an area hospital, where she remained Thursday.
Hospitals, fire stations and police stations are all “Safe Surrender” locations. Parents of children up to 3 days old may drop off their infants at any of those locations with no questions asked, authorities confirmed.
The “Safely Surrendered Baby Law” was created in California in 2001 and signed permanently into state law in 2006, according to information provided Thursday by the Merced Fire Department.
“We also have information available if someone drops a baby off and later wants them back,” said Billy Alcorn, acting battalion chief.
Alcorn said firefighters will ask the people dropping off infants if they are willing to fill out medical information to help the process, but it is not required. He said that despite the fact the program was established several years ago, no infants have ever been surrendered to the Merced Fire Department.
Merced County Human Services is accepting donations on the infant girl’s behalf.
California’s safe surrender law, more commonly known in the United States as the safe-haven law, decriminalizes leaving unharmed infants with the proper authorities. Locations that are considered safe are police stations, hospitals, firehouses and rescue squads. These statues were designed to protect innocent infants from abandonment while simultaneously protecting the lives of their mothers. Unfortunately, many babies are still unsafely abandoned because women do not realize they have another option.
The first safe-haven law was enacted in Texas in 1999 and now all 50 states in the U.S., as well as the District of Columbia, have passed safe-haven legislation. According to the National Safe Haven Alliance, these laws have saved over 1,000 infants in the past decade.