The first baby boxes in the country are being unveiled at two northern Indiana fire stations this week. The boxes act as incubators to protect babies abandoned under the state’s Safe Haven law, passed in 2015.
Indiana law allows parents of unwanted newborns to give up their babies at fire stations, police departments and hospitals. The Safe Haven Baby Boxes aim to keep those parents anonymous and their baby safe.
Safe Haven Baby Box Founder Monica Kelsey got the idea for the boxes because she was abandoned at a hospital as a child. A number of European countries have advocated baby drop-off boxes for centuries, however.
Kelsey says as soon as someone opens one of the heated boxes, a 911 call is triggered.
“Before the child is even placed in the box we’re initiating fire and medical to come to this location,” she says.
Kelsey revealed the first baby box at a fire station in Woodburn, a suburb of Fort Wayne. Another volunteer fire department in Northern Indiana will unveil its baby box Thursday.
"Their fire station in the last 15 years has had 7 babies abandoned within a 5-mile radius of the fire station,” Kelsey says. “They were tired of finding dead babies.”
Kelsey says she’s focusing on installing Safe Haven Baby Boxes at other Indiana locations where people abandoned babies in the past.