All states have laws that are meant to protect children. Indiana’s Safe Haven Law allows mothers to surrender a baby at a police department, fire station, or hospital without facing criminal charges. The installation of “baby boxes” in fire stations makes the process a safe and effective way for a parent to anonymously surrender a newborn under 30 days old and for staff to take the necessary action for the child’s health and well being.
A baby box at a northwestern Indiana volunteer fire station has had babies left twice in the climate-controlled Safe Haven Baby Box, with the most recent occurrence earlier this week. A pager alerted Lt. Chuck Kohler, of the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department, that a child had been left there and he was at the box in less than a minute to make sure the child got the care she needed. The firemen named her Grace and got her to the hospital for additional care, including removing her umbilical cord, before she will be placed in the custody of the Indiana Department of Child Services.
Prior to that, a child was left in the box to be cared for in November. Founder and president of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Monica Kelsey, told KTXS, “There are some moms that will go to the hospital. There are some moms that will walk into this fire station and hand that child over. But we also know that there are some momss that don’t want their faces seen and this box is the reason why it’s working.”
The plan is to roll out the program to other towns and cities, making a difficult decision much easier and safer for a mom or dad who decide they can’t raise a child.
Those who weighed in with comments on The Daily Mail’s coverage of the story praised the program, with people noting: “Bless you, Grace’s mom, for having the courage to give her up rather than harming her. Thank you to those kind people willing to make a Safe Haven Baby Box available” and “Thank goodness for Indiana’s Safe Haven Law. Unwanted newborns at least have a second chance at life.”
Other commenters agreed, with one person explaining: “Great idea rather than babies being abandoned in dangerous places or harmed by their parents who can’t cope.”
One commenter noted that the program could expand for older children as well, writing: “I believe that children older than 1 month should also be accepted. Infants, toddlers, pre-school age especially. The 1 month old cut-off point makes no sense. Some parents cannot cope, they lack basic parenting skills and maybe they have addictions. We could save many children’s lives with a bigger and better ‘amnesty’ program.”
Another commenter voiced this concern: “These baby boxes are a fantastic idea and should be in every state. My only fear would be some creep taking the baby before the authorities arrive to save him/her, since it took 12-min for the fire dept to arrive. I hope s/he’s adopted quickly.”
One person responded, noting the quick response time and safety features, explaining: “Firefighter was there in less than ONE minute. The box cannot be opened by just anyone. They have a special access key.”
What do you think of this program?