Lawmaker files 'baby box' bill to allow safe haven boxes to be installed at fire stations

Bill would let fire stations install baby boxes
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-03 18:30:38-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- An Indiana lawmaker has filed a bill to expand the use of "baby boxes" to include fire stations across the state. 

Last year, lawmakers approved a law allowing hospitals to install baby boxes where infants could be safely left inside. That law grandfathered in two already-implemented boxes at fire stations. 

The new bill, authored by Senator Travis Holdman (R-Markle), is a continuation of that bill that would allow fire stations that are staffed around the clock to install the boxes as well. 

At least one Indianapolis area fire station would install a baby box if the bill were to become a law. 

"Last year was the first year out of 15 years that we've had zero abandonment in our state," said Monica Kelsey, Founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes. "You have to look at what we did last year that we did differently. It's pretty obvious - we have two baby boxes in Indiana, a hotline that rings every day and we're helping women across the country."

Critics say the baby boxes haven't been tested or used enough to know just how safe they are. 

READ | Newborn left in 'baby box' at Indiana fire station

Last year, an infant was left in the "Safe Haven Baby Box" installed at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department in Michigan City. 

The boxes are heated, cooled and padded incubators that are attached to buildings. Each box is set up with an alarm that notifies the 911 center whenever a baby is placed inside of it. The boxes are also inspected regularly. 

Indiana already has a safe haven law which allows mothers to surrender their newborns without fear of prosecution, but proponents of the baby boxes believe that giving mother's an anonymous way to do so could help save the infants whose mothers are afraid to face a firefighter or doctor and might otherwise keep the child in unsafe conditions.  

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