Proposal to expand use of baby boxes advances to Indiana House

Safe Haven Baby Box.JPG
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 16:52:16-05

INDIANAPOLIS — A bill that would help increase the number of Safe Haven Baby Boxes across the state has passed through a committee vote and will now head to the full Indiana House of Representatives.

The proposal introduced by State Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, would make it easier for communities to install the baby boxes. It passed out of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and Public Safety.

Currently, Indiana's Safe Haven Law allows a parent to surrender an infant less than 30 days old to any hospital emergency room, fire station, police station or Safe Haven Baby Box within the state without fear of prosecution.

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes are temperature-controlled with an alarm system that alerts first responders when an infant is placed inside.

"This bill will help Indiana remain a leader in saving vulnerable, newborn infants and providing them a chance at life," Frye said. "My goal is for every county in the state to install a Safe Haven Baby Box, and this bill would take us one step closer to achieving that milestone."

Frye's bill would allow communities to install a baby box at a volunteer fire station located in a municipality with a full-time police department. It would further allow counties with professional emergency medical service providers with a 24/7 staffed facility to install boxes.

Currently, there are 51 Safe Haven Baby Boxes installed statewide, which helped save the lives of five Hoosier babies in 2020.

The Indiana House is also set to consider a separate bill from State Rep. Ryan Lauer, R-Columbus, that would expand the state's Safe Haven Law to allow emergency medical service providers to take custody of a surrendered newborn less than 30 days old if the parent calls 911.