The first Safe Haven Baby Box in Kentucky will be available for use after a public unveiling ceremony on July 1. The box’s installation comes just months after Governor Andy Beshear signed the “Safe Haven Baby Box” bill, which allows parents to anonymously and safely place an infant into a designated Safe Haven Baby Box up to 30 days after birth.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes are climate-controlled boxes installed in public buildings like firehouses and hospitals. Each box is monitored and alarmed, so any infant placed inside will be rescued within moments. This Safe Haven Baby Box will be installed in the Okolona Fire Station #1, located at 8501 Preston Highway in Louisville. A community unveiling will occur at 9:30 AM, after which time the box will be available to use.
“Okolona Fire Protection District is honored to be able to provide a Safe Haven Baby Box to our community. We are in the business of saving lives, and this baby box is another tool that will allow us to do just that,” said Fire Chief Mark Little in a statement. “This truly is a proactive resource we are providing to the community for those who feel they have no other options.”
Kentucky’s new Safe Haven Baby Box law was passed in large part thanks to Isabella Lankin, a teen who was abandoned as an infant in her native China. Lankin started a petition to rally people in support of the law. “I don’t want other babies to have to go through what I went through, and if I can help prevent it, then I’m going to try my 110% to do that,” she said.
The Safe Haven Baby Box organization was founded by Monica Kelsey, who herself was abandoned as an infant. She spoke of the importance of this first box in Kentucky:
Safe Haven Baby Boxes works hard to ensure that every parent knows that this last resort option is available to them. We will not stop until every parent knows all their options including a Safe Haven surrender. We are grateful that Kentucky has joined seven other states to expand safe haven laws, and we are proud to partner with Okolona Fire Department, which has joined 73 other baby box locations. There is no doubt that Okolona is taking a proactive approach to infant abandonment in our country.
With the installation of this box, Kentucky joins Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Arkansas as the five states with Safe Haven Baby Boxes. According to the organization, 12 infants have been placed in the boxes in the last three years. For those states without a Safe Haven Baby Box, there are still safe haven locations in each state where infants can be surrendered safely and anonymously.
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