In less than one week, two babies were placed in Indiana’s Safe Haven Boxes; they are the 16th and 17th Safe Haven Box surrenders since April 2016, when the first drop-box was installed.
One baby was surrendered at the Franciscan Health Hammond in northwestern Indiana. Less than a week later, another child was placed in the Safe Haven Box at the Carmel Fire Department Station just north of Indianapolis, Indiana.
According to the nonprofit’s website, Safe Haven Boxes are a “safety device provided for under state’s Safe Haven Law and legally permits a mother in crisis to safely, securely, and anonymously surrender if they are unable to care for their newborn. A Baby Box is installed in an exterior wall of a designated fire station or hospital. It has an exterior door that automatically locks upon placement of a newborn inside the Baby Box, and an interior door which allows a medical staff member to secure the surrendered newborn from inside the designated building.”
When a child is left inside a Safe Haven Box, dispatch is alerted immediately, and first responders are quickly sent to check the box. Carmel Fire Station #45 dedicated its Safe Haven Baby Box three years ago. The firefighters regularly test the box’s multiple alarms and rehearse their response should a baby ever be dropped off.
“We were sitting in the station like every other day when the baby box alarm went off … We went back there to see what was going on and lo and behold there was a baby sitting inside the baby box wrapped in towels,” said firefighter Victor Andres.
John Moriarity, Chief of Community Relations, collected the child from the Safe Haven Box, joyful that this child was surrendered and would be given a chance at life. “I was so excited when I saw them come out of the room with the baby. They loaded the baby into the ambulance. I got into my car, and we went to the hospital,” said Moriarty.
The firefighters of Carmel Fire Station #45 were so thrilled with the successful surrender of the baby boy, they celebrated with a birthday cake in his honor. “Our hope is that this baby boy will find a forever loving home the same way and find their forever family as well,” said Fire Chief David Haboush.
Monica Kelsey, Safe Haven Boxes’ founder, was abandoned by her 17-year old mother when she was an infant. In response to Indiana’s two recent surrenders, she encourages their mothers by saying, “We honor you today. What you have done is selfless, honorable, and courageous and you should be so proud of yourself.”
Kelsey has spread awareness about the Safe Haven Boxes and how to use them through TikTok videos that have gone viral over the past year. She hopes these boxes will continue to provide an anonymous way for mothers to safely surrender their babies, regardless of the reasons behind their choice.
There are currently 105 Safe Haven Box locations across the country. Each state also has its own Safe Haven laws, allowing children to be surrendered anonymously at locations staffed by first responders.
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