WOODBURN — An infant was surrendered to a Woodburn firefighter under Indiana's Safe Haven Law over the weekend.
The infant became the third in just over a week to be surrendered under the Indiana law, which allows parents to anonymously surrender their healthy infants at any fire station in the state without fear of criminal prosecution.
Monica Kelsey with Safe Haven Baby Boxes says the Woodburn Fire Station where the baby was handed over is the location of America's very first Safe Haven Baby Box.
The mother called the Safe Haven hotline but did not put her baby inside the box. She met with a firefighter and handed over her infant.
Earlier this month, an infant was surrendered at a Kosciusko County fire station and a second infant was surrendered at a secure location in Whitley County a few days later.
Kelsey said both women called the "Safe Haven Hotline" to find a safe location to surrender their infants and were met by someone who could help them. She says neither county currently has a Safe Haven Baby Box installed, but they are working with council members in Kosciusko County to get one installed at a fire station there.
Baby boxes are safe incubators that have alarm systems, so 911 is notified as soon as a baby is placed inside. The baby boxes also have heating and cooling features.
Indiana's Safe Haven law allows people to anonymously surrender their healthy infants at any fire station in the state without fear of criminal prosecution.
The Safe Haven Baby Box organization also staffs a 24-hour hotline (1-866-99BABY1), so parents can talk to trained professionals about possibly surrendering their baby.
Indiana currently has 6 active Safe Haven Baby Boxes installed in the following areas:
- Woodburn, Indiana
- Chesterton, Indiana
- Michigan City, Indiana
- Carmel, Indiana
- Decatur Township, Indiana
- North Vernon, Indiana
Kelsey says they are planning to announce two new locations in the coming weeks.
Last year, three infants were surrendered in Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana. Since 2016, Kelsey says there have been more than 45 "hand-offs" of infants similar to the two this past week.