Newborn surrendered in baby box

Local News

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — A newborn baby is now safely in DCS custody after being surrendered in a Safe Haven baby box at a hospital in Hammond, Indiana.

The Safe Haven baby box in Hammond is very similar to one at the Carmel Fire Department Station No. 45.

The boxes allow a baby to get the help within 90 seconds of being placed in the box.

Carmel firefighter Tim Griffin said having a baby box installed at the station is a valuable resource.

“It is a safe and anonymous resource for people or families that are in crisis that feel that this isn’t the time that they can care for a child,” Griffin said.

Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven baby boxes, says their hotline gets on average two calls a day.

“This was the very first time this year though that a baby was placed in the box and the woman received 100% anonymity,” Kelsey said.

The boxes allow a parent to place the baby in the box from outside the building, no questions asked.

“Once the baby is placed, the alarm would go off, we would reach in and obviously pull the baby out, check all of the child’s vital signs,” said Griffin.

Unfortunately, Griffin says before these boxes existed, parents were leaving children in parks, wooded areas or even dumpsters.

Carmel’s baby box is dedicated Baby Amelia, who was found dead in Eagle Creek in 2014.

“There will be several resources coming to that baby instantly, and yes, it should be attended to within 90 seconds,” said Griffin.

Kelsey says these boxes were created with babies and parents in mind.

“You know, I don’t just look at the baby that is saved. I look at the mom who felt she didn’t have any options and what a brave mom she has to be to be able to basically be able to say, ‘I want what is best for my child and it’s not me,’” Kelsey said.

Kelsey said the mother of the baby surrendered in Hammond didn’t call before she dropped the baby off, but she did call a few days later.

“Her big concern was, is she healthy? You know, so that there tells you that this mother loved this child she just felt like she couldn’t get out of this situation or this crisis that she was in,” said Kelsey.

Safe Haven says it is planning on putting even more of these boxes across the state of Indiana this year. Indiana already has 12 boxes in operation.

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(This story was originally published on September 11, 2019)

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