As a measure for the safe haven law in the state of Indiana, U.S.A, two ‘baby boxes’ have been installed, where mothers can anonymously drop off unwanted newborns.
Indiana’s Safe Haven Law enables someone to give up an unwanted infant anonymously — without fear of arrest or prosecution. The adult may give up custody of a baby less than 30 days old to a hospital emergency room, fire station or police station.
These Safe Haven Baby Boxes were opened to the public recently at Indiana fire stations as part of an initiative to give mothers in crisis a secure place to surrender their babies.
The incubators — padded, heated boxes that are rigged to notify emergency personnel when a baby is placed inside — provide parents a safe way to give up their infants without speaking to anyone and would deter parents from leaving babies in the woods or a trash can. But critics have questioned the cost and potential liability associated with using the boxes.
Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes a non profit organisation, said the boxes have been tested and improved to address people’s concerns. Emergency dispatch is alerted within one minute of a baby being placed inside a box, and the child is removed within five minutes, she said.
Kelsey works at the Woodburn Fire Department, said the box is padded and climate controlled to keep the baby warm while still allowing air circulation, and automatically locks when a baby is placed inside, so no one else can take the child.
The first Baby Box incubator was activated this week at a fire station in Woodburn, a small city in northeastern Indiana near Fort Wayne. While the second baby box is scheduled to be activated on Thursday at the Cool Spring Fire Department in Michigan City.
The box is also equipped with motion sensors that trigger a second 911 call after detecting movement inside. Fire and medical officials would then look the baby over and transport him or her to a local hospital for evaluation, the child is then placed in the custody of the Indiana’s Child Protective Services, Kelsey said.
The boxes are literally a last resort, meant as a last line of defense for women. This March, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed a bill that placed several restrictions on access to abortion, including banning abortion on the basis of fetal anomaly.