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Revamped baby boxes bill introduced into General Assembly

The boxes are only allowed at hospitals and the two fire stations that already have the boxes.

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 10:33 PM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 10:46 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (WFFT) - Indiana legislators are considering a new law that would allow more baby boxes in fire stations.

The boxes are only allowed at hospitals and the two fire stations that already have the boxes.

One box is in Woodburn, the other one is in Michigan City.

"This is only an extension of the already existing save haven law," said Monica Kelsey, Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder/CEO.

The law allows mothers who just gave birth to surrender their newborn at any fire station, police station or hospital in the state.

State senator Travis Holdman, from Markel, announced Wednesday his bill would allow fire departments that are staffed 24/7 to install baby boxes.

"With a baby saved now, it's a great thing to have in a fire station," said Larry Betz, Woodburn Fire Department safety officer.

Kelsey said the program is working.

"In 2017 we had zero abandonment's, zero deadly abandonments in the state of Indiana. That speaks volumes. What did we do different in 2017 that we weren't doing before?" she said.

Baby boxes are heated and contain an alarm that alerts when a baby is placed inside.

In November , a baby was dropped off in the baby box in Michigan City.

First responders were there within five minutes.

"Two lives were saved. This child's life was saved, and also the mother's life was from a lifetime of guilt and possibly even prison time," Kelsey said.

A state law passed last year allows the boxes at hospitals.

Kelsey said the first one will be installed later this month with two more planned in the spring.

But she said that's not always the answer.

"It's very busy there. Hospitals have a lot of people and sometimes women don't want to see anyone when they are surrendering their child," said Kelsey.

Woodburn and Michigan City fire stations were grandfathered in under the law.

Betz said it would be great for more fire stations to have these boxes.

"Life safety fire fighter, medic, police officer in the country is for," he said.

You can follow the progress of the bill here.

If you need help, you can call the Safe Haven Baby Box hotline 24/7 at 1-866-99BABY1.

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