Safe Haven Baby Box opens at Community Memorial Hospital in Hicksville

Ohio is currently number 2 in the country for infant abandonment. Law enforcement agencies say they work closely with Child Services to curb that, but the baby box will be a critical tool.

Posted: Nov. 15, 2018 6:47 PM
Updated: Nov. 16, 2018 6:31 AM

HICKSVILLE, Ohio (WFFT)- A fourth Safe Haven Baby Box opened in Hicksville, Ohio Thursday morning. It's the first of its kind in Ohio and the first at a hospital. 

There are already boxes in Woodburn, Michigan City, and Indianapolis. 

Ohio is currently number 2 in the country for infant abandonment. Law enforcement agencies say they work closely with Child Services to curb that, but the baby box will be a critical tool.

"We're helping abolish abandonment in this state, and this is the first step to doing that," said Monica Kelsey, founder and president of Safe Haven Baby Box. 

Kelsey was a surrendered baby herself, and started the program in 2016. 

"We just had a save Saturday night. This mom called us in crisis, and we helped her make a good choice, which was drop your child at that hospital a mile down the road, and that's exactly what she did," she said. 

They've already been successful in Indiana. We used to average two abandonments a year, meaning babies were found neglected or dead. 

"We currently have had zero since we launched these baby boxes and our billboard campaigns," Kelsey said. 

The boxes are temperature controlled, and as soon as they're opened, a call goes out to 911. Sixty seconds after the baby is placed inside, a blue light goes out to the nurses in the ER, giving the parents time to get away and remain anonymous. 

"This is no names, no shame, and no blame. We're not asking for anything. We're asking you to do the right thing," Kelsey said. 

The fifth baby box is opening in Chesterton, Indiana Friday.

If you, or someone you know is in crisis and needs to surrender an infant, contact the hotline at 1-866-99BABY1. 

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