Just four months after a Bloomington, Indiana fire station installed a special safe haven baby box, an infant was surrendered to the firefighters’ care.
Monroe Fire Protection District Station 25 Chief Jason Allen said a silent alarm alerted the firefighters April 8 that a baby had been placed inside the specially-designed box, The Herald-Times reports. He said they retrieved the baby in less than a minute.
“Firefighters provided basic EMS care and comfort to the baby until paramedics arrived on scene and transported the baby to the hospital for further evaluation,” Allen said in a statement.
The Bloomington fire station installed the box in December, joining more than 100 others across the country with safe haven boxes to protect newborns from infanticide. According to Live Action News, four babies have been safely surrendered in Indiana this year alone.
“It makes us pretty happy as a whole to provide something like this the community needs,” the Bloomington fire chief said. “What we do is offer an option. We provide the box and the immediate care for the baby.”
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News reports did not include any additional details about the infant. Babies surrendered under the Indiana safe haven law are placed into the foster care system and later adopted into loving homes.
According to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization, 28 babies have been anonymously and safely surrendered in Indiana since 2017. Monica Kelsey, who was abandoned as an infant and later adopted, founded the organization in 2015 to educate and advocate for safe haven laws and baby boxes across the U.S.
“Women in crisis are trusting the organization that removes shame from a complicated decision to lovingly surrender an infant,” Kelsey’s organization said in a statement.
To-date, the organization has helped install more than 100 baby boxes in communities across the country. Kelsey said each box is temperature controlled and has an alarm that alerts authorities as soon as a baby is placed inside. She said they cost about $200 to $300 per year to maintain.
All 50 states have safe haven laws that allow mothers to safely surrender their newborns to authorities, often at a police station or hospital, without questions or repercussions as long as the infant is unharmed. Typically, laws allow safe surrender within a certain time limit, such as up to 30 days after the baby’s birth.
According to Centers for Disease Control research, “Since 1999, when Texas became the first state to implement Safe Haven Laws, an estimated 4,100 infants have been safely surrendered nationwide.”
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