A newborn baby girl is doing well after being surrendered in a safe haven baby box on Nov. 7 in Indiana.
The heated, insulated box was placed in the Coolspring Township Fire Department near Michigan City, Indiana in 2016 to help protect newborns from being abandoned, Yahoo News reports. The Indiana safe haven law allows mothers to surrender their infants to authorities up to 30 days after birth without fear of consequences.
The newborn girl is the first baby saved in the box.
La Porte County authorities said the newborn was placed in the box just before 10:30 p.m. Nov. 7. An alarm went off when the box was opened and again when the baby was placed inside; and authorities said they rescued the baby within five minutes of her being placed in the box, according to news reports.
“When this box was installed, we hoped that it would never be used, yet we’re thankful that it exists for cases just like the one Tuesday night,” Coolspring Fire Chief Mick Pawlik said. “We are grateful that the mother had this option and made this choice, and we remain concerned for her health.”
The box only can be opened from the inside of the fire station, and Pawlik was the one who first responded to the alarm.
“I can see this sweatshirt and I seen a little bitty arm,” Pawlik told local media. “I opened it up and that baby just looked me right in the eyes.”
Authorities said the baby’s umbilical cord was attached when they found her wrapped in a gray hooded sweatshirt; they believe she was only about an hour old. They took the infant girl to the hospital, where she is in good condition, according to the report.
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The local fire fighters named her Baby Hope, WMUR 9 reports. They also praised the infant’s mother for doing the right thing and expressed concerns about her well-being.
“This is the last resort, when the mother cannot make face-to-face contact,” Pawlik said
All 50 states in America have some form of a safe haven law that allows women to surrender their newborns at a police station, fire station or hospital without fear of prosecution.
The United States does not keep statistics about the number of babies saved through safe haven laws, but experts have estimated the number to be in the thousands. Between 2004 and 2011, about 50 infants in Texas alone were surrendered under its safe haven law, according to the Dallas Morning News.
If you or someone you know would like more information about relinquishing a newborn baby, please call 1-866-99BABY1 or go to www.SafeHavenLaw.com.