STATEHOUSE (Aug. 2, 2018) — Central Indiana now has a Safe Haven Baby Box for parents or caregivers to anonymously and safely surrender a newborn, thanks to a new law sponsored by State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville).
The new baby box is located at the Decatur Township Fire Department at 3750 S. Foltz St. in Indianapolis. This is Indiana’s third Safe Haven Baby Box, which is a temperature-controlled device that alerts emergency responders when an infant is placed inside. When the door is opened, a silent alarm is triggered and a 911 call is sent immediately. Once an infant is placed in the box, a second silent alarm and 911 call is sent, notifying emergency responders of the presence of a surrendered child.
Mayfield said under a new law, fire stations staffed 24-hours a day are able to install baby boxes to provide safe options for those looking to surrender an infant.
“This is truly an effort to save the lives of newborn babies and serves as a last resort option for a parent in crisis,” Mayfield said. “Since the passage of the original baby box law in 2016, two infants have been saved using this device. More importantly, greater public awareness of Indiana’s Safe Haven law has resulted in 39 infants being safely surrendered, rather than a parent choosing an unsafe, illegal or even deadly alternative. As 1 of 3 states with Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Indiana continues to be a national leader when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable. While we hope it’s never used, this is a safe, anonymous option for distraught parents or caregivers to leave a newborn in the care of emergency responders.”
According to Mayfield, Indiana’s Safe Haven law allows a person to anonymously surrender a newborn child to a fire station, police department, EMS provider, or hospital without fear of arrest if the infant is less than 30 days old and has no signs of abuse or neglect. The law was recently expanded to include the use of Safe Haven Baby boxes. Mayfield said a child had already been surrendered to the Decatur Township Fire Department just weeks prior to the baby box being installed.
State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) represents House District 60, which includes portions of Morgan and Monroe counties and is the Assistant Majority Floor Leader.
PICTURED: (Left to right) State Rep. Peggy Mayfield (R-Martinsville) joins founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Monica Kelsey and State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) at the installation of a new Safe Haven Baby Box in Decatur Township on Monday, July 30, 2018. Safe Haven Baby Boxes are temperature-controlled devices that alert emergency responders when a newborn is placed inside.