Plymouth unveils Safe Haven Baby Box
PLYMOUTH, Ind. --- Michiana mothers in crisis have a new, safe place to turn, if they can't care for their newborn. A safe haven baby box was unveiled Wednesday in Plymouth at the fire department.
Plymouth’s newest edition box marked the 89th safe haven box across the nation and the 72nd in Indiana.
“Safe haven baby boxes are actually birthed because of crisis that my birth mom was in all these years ago and she actually abandoned me two hours after I was born and I can’t take that back. I can’t change the way my life started but what I can do is make it a safer option for women and children in the communities that these boxes go in,’’ said Safe Haven Baby Box founder and CEO Monica Kelsey.
Founding the safe haven baby box program was personal for the Indiana native. Kelsey launched the initiative back in 2016 to help save vulnerable infants from being abandoned in random places.
Under Indiana safe haven laws, a person can anonymously give up an infant 30 days or younger without fear of arrest or prosecution, as long as there are no signs of intentional abuse.
“Allowing mothers to have no shame and no blame and no names give them peace knowing that they can save the life of their child, but also get anonymity that they so deserve,” added Kelsey.
According to the Department of Child Services under the safe haven statues since 2008 at least 57 infants have been surrendered, including 12 babies at safe haven boxes.
An option Plymouth Mayor Mark Senter believes could have even helped prevent the death of 11-month-old Mercedes lain early on.
“11-month-old Mercedes you know it was awful and something that hit this community hard and there could have been a save of that,” said Mayor Senter.
The latest safe haven box mirrors those across the state. The device is a two-way box equipped with temperature controls and silent alarms.
When the baby is placed in the box from the outside of the fire station, the door automatically locks and triggers alarms for first responders inside of the station.
With the colder months quickly approaching, the Plymouth Fire chief believes something like this is even more crucial now than ever.
“Oh, it’s so very important, it’s just a perfect spot to bring the baby to if the mother is not wanting the baby or cannot handle the baby. It gives it a safe spot to put the baby in. It’s warm, it’s dry, out of the elements,” added Chief Steve Holm of the Plymouth Fire Department.
To see a complete list of safe haven baby boxes you can click here. Women in crisis can also call or text the National Safe Haven crisis hotline at 1-866-99BABY1 if you ever need assistance.