Human Interest

First infant surrendered in Missouri’s only Safe Haven Baby Box


A baby girl was safely surrendered in a Missouri Safe Haven Baby Box last week — the first such surrender since the passage of a 2021 state law allowing infant surrenders in baby boxes.

According to US News, the baby girl was placed in the box at a Mehlville Fire District station in St. Louis County. The box was installed in August of 2023. Fire personnel estimated that the girl was several hours old at the time of her surrender; she was taken to a hospital for evaluation and is said to be in good condition.

The Safe Haven Baby Box organization places temperature-controlled boxes in facilities like fire stations or hospitals around the country. The boxes allow a mother or father who feels unable to parent their child to surrender their child safely and anonymously, per their state’s safe haven law. Once the child is inside, a silent alarm alerts medical personnel and they retrieve the baby within minutes. The baby will later be placed with either a foster or adoptive family, depending on state law.

“To that mother, I would like to say that we loved that baby and cared for that baby the minute we laid eyes on her and the minute we opened up that door,” Chief Brian Hendricks said at a news conference.

The Mehlville Safe Haven Box was installed thanks to the legislation of Rep. Jim Murphy. “We knew the value of these boxes in Missouri, and we are thankful it was there for this mother when she needed it,” Murphy said. “The mother’s courageous decision to utilize the Safe Haven Baby Box is a testament to the impact of these life-saving initiatives.”

Monica Kelsey, the founder of the Safe Haven Baby Box organization, also praised the brave parent who placed her child in the box.

“She could have dumped her child in the trash or dumpster. But she didn’t. She chose something better. Basically she said, ‘I want what’s best for my child and it’s not me.’ And that’s heroic,” Kelsey said.

The Mehlville Safe Haven Box is currently the only one located in the state of Missouri, though Chief Hendricks said another box is in the works for a second Mehlville location, and there are other districts in Missouri looking to add the boxes as well.

There are reportedly 200 baby boxes installed at various locations in the United States.

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