A nonprofit organization in Indiana has introduced anonymous “Safe Haven Baby Box” facilities in the state to allow disinclined parents to surrender their new born babies at a safe place — instead of abandoning them or worse.
The boxes are climate controlled, padded and feature a security system that alerts nearby emergency personnel when someone places a baby in there, so they can immediately get to the location and rescue the infant. The box also has a medical-warming device that keeps its temperature between 95 and 100 degrees throughout the year, according to KFOR.
The Woodburn Volunteer Fire Department, located about 15 miles out of Fort Wayne, was the first to make this service accessible. A second box was installed in Michigan City on Thursday.
Monica Kelsey, a volunteer firefighter, founder of the Safe Haven Baby Boxes and a long-time advocate for baby boxes, said the scheme is extremely helpful as some people wish for total anonymity but also want to know their baby is safe.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have safe haven laws allowing parents to deliver unharmed, unwanted newborns to fire stations, police stations, or hospitals without any penalty.
But some parents aren't able to face another person when relinquishing their newborn, and fear judgment.
Just recently, a hotline Kelsey volunteers with fielded a call from a young woman asking for the location of a baby box. Apparently, she did not want to go to a hospital or fire station or meet anyone.
“This is not criminal,” Kelsey explained. “This is legal. We don’t want to push women away.”
However, critics of the boxes argue the anonymity of such boxes makes it easier for parents to give up a child without weighing other options.