We have seen the storyline in popular shows like “This Is Us” and “Little Fires Everywhere.” Desperate and scared parents leave their baby at a fire station in hopes of keeping him safe and giving him a better life than they can provide. But what happens when this occurs in the real world without the glitz and glamour of television magic?
Third Baby was Surrendered at Indiana Safe Haven Baby Boxes Recently
Over the past few weeks, two babies were surrendered at Safe Haven Baby Boxes in Indiana. In Hammond, a baby girl was left at the Franciscan Health Hospital’s baby box less than 30 days after its installation. Three years after the dedication of their baby box, Carmel Fire Department Station #45 received a baby boy warmly bundled in towels. Within minutes of their surrender, both babies were checked out by medical professionals and found to be completely healthy.
Carmel Firefighter, Victor Andres tells WTHR, "We were sitting in the station like every other day when the baby box alarm went off. We went back there to see what was going on and lo and behold there was a baby sitting inside the baby box wrapped in towels.”
A third baby has been surrendered this April in Indiana at a Safe Haven Baby Box. A baby girl was surrendered at the Carmel Fire Department Station 45 in Indiana.
What are Safe Haven Baby Boxes?
Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc., was founded by Monica Kelsey in 2016. Kelsey, who was also abandoned as an infant, made it her personal goal to educate communities about safe haven laws and protect infants who have been abandoned. The baby boxes work to keep babies safe as well as protect the mother’s identity by removing a face-to-face interaction during the surrender.
The Indiana Safe Haven Law, which was updated last year, states:
“This is a way for a parent to give up a newborn infant legally and confidentially. This offers a mother or father an alternative to abandoning their baby. Abandonment is illegal and as puts the infant in terrible danger, maybe even leading to death. Abandonment has serious consequences both for the baby and for the parents. This law allows the parent leave the baby with an emergency medical professional, no questions asked. They do not have to leave their name but may be asked for basic medical information on the infant. At this point the parent gives up custody of the child.”
The law was modified in order to protect the confidentiality of mothers, allowing them to remain anonymous when dropping their babies off at one of the box locations.
In addition to the installation of boxes, Safe Haven also runs a 24-hour hotline to help mothers in crisis. The history shared on their website says the organization has referred over 500 women to crisis pregnancy centers, assisted in 7 adoption referrals, and has had over 100 legal Safe Haven surrenders.
“Sixteen babies have been surrendered inside Safe Haven Baby Boxes since the first was installed in 2016. Three other babies have been surrendered at fire stations with Safe Haven Baby Boxes. Nationwide, over 100 surrenders have resulted from calls to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes national hotline.”
Since the first box in Indiana was installed in 2016, there hasn’t been a single death of an abandoned infant.
So, How does the Safe Haven Baby Box Work Exactly?
The baby boxes are two-way, temperature-controlled boxes that are built into the side of a hospital or fire station. When a baby is placed into the box, an alarm is immediately triggered to notify staff present in the building. A call to 911 is also placed.
The alarms on the boxes are regularly tested and drills are conducted to ensure the procedure is executed flawlessly.
The infant is then transported to the local emergency room to be evaluated. After the baby is checked out, the Department of Child Services takes custody of the child until it can be placed in foster care or adopted.
Although critics may frown on sharing these stories, Carmel Fire Chief believes it is a cause for celebration that the system worked.
“A big smile on my face to hear that the system worked flawlessly,” said Chief David Haboush
Kelsey believes it is important for parents to know they have options.
"If that is your only choice, please choose the baby box that will give you the anonymity that you need and that will keep you legal, keep your child safe and do a loving thing for your child," she said.
Where are the Indiana Safe Haven Baby Boxes Located?
Here's a complete list of Indiana Baby Boxes. You can find a national list on the website.
- Box #1: Woodburn City Fire Department- 22731 Main St Woodburn IN 46797
- Box #2: Coolspring TWP Fire Department-7111 W 400 N, Michigan City, IN 46360
- Box #3: Decatur TWP Fire Department- 3750 Foltz St, Indianapolis, IN 46221
- Box #5: Chesterton Fire Department- 702 Broadway, Chesterton, IN 46304
- Box #6: North Vernon Fire Department- 2000 North Madison Ave., North Vernon, IN 47265
- Box #7: Carmel Fire Department Station 45- 10701 N College Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46280
- Box #9: Franciscan Health Michigan City- 3500 Franciscan Way, Michigan City, IN 46360.
- Box #10: Mount Vernon Fire Department- 311 College Street, Mt Vernon, IN 47620
- Box #11: Seymour Fire Department #3- 605 Meadowbrook Drive, Seymour IN 47274
- Box #12: Franciscan Health Hammond- 5454 Hohman Ave, Hammond, IN 46320
- Box #13: Turkey Creek Fire Territory Station #2- 8138 E. McClintic Road, Syracuse, IN 46567
- Box #14: Warsaw Fire Station #2- 2204 E Center St., Warsaw, IN 46580
- Box #17: St. Catherine Hospital - 4321 Fir Street, East Chicago, IN 46312
- Box #18: Vernon Township Fire Station #3- 600 Vitality Drive, Fortville, IN 46040
- Box #19: Crown Point Fire Station- 126 N. East St., Crown Point, IN 46307
- Box #20: Angola Fire Station- 202 W. Gilmore Street, Angola, IN 46703
- Box #21: Frankfort Fire Station- 257 South Clay Street, Frankfort, IN 46041
- Box #22: New Haven Fire Station- 910 Hartzell Rd, New Haven, IN 46774
- Box #23: Columbia City Fire Station- 112 S. Chauncey Street, Columbia City, IN 46725
- Box #24: Connersville Fire Station #4- 124 South Fountain Street, Connersville, IN 47331
- Box #25: White River Township Fire Station #4-366 North Morgantown Road, Greenwood, IN 46142
- Box #26: Portage Fire Station #2- 6275 Old Porter Road, Portage, IN 46368
- Box #27: Hobart Fire Station #2- 2411 W. Old Ridge Road, Hobart, IN 46342
- Box #28: Kokomo Fire Station #1- 215 W Superior St. Kokomo, IN 46901
- Box #29: Margaret Mary Health - 321 Mitchell Avenue, Batesville, IN 47006
- Box #30: Valparaiso Fire Station #1- 205 E. Indiana Ave, Valparaiso, IN 46383
- Box #31: Owen County Ems-367 State Hwy 46 West, Spencer, IN. 47460
- Box #33: Franciscan Health East-1701 Creasey Lane, Lafayette, IN 47905
- Box #34: Decatur Fire Department- 206 South 7th Street, Decatur, IN 46733
- Box #35: Logansport Fire Station-630 High Street, Logansport, IN 46947
- Box #36: Lake Station Fire Department- 1876 Fairview Avenue, Lake Station, IN 46405
- Box #37: Kendallville Fire Station 2- 304 E. North Street, Kendallville, IN 46755
- Box #38: Auburn Fire Department-902 S. Grandstaff Drive, Auburn, IN 46706
- Box #39: Mooresville Fire Department- 415 East State Road 144 Mooresville, IN 46158
- Box #40: Vincennes Fire Station #1- 928 Vigo Street, Vincennes, IN 47591
- Box #41: Shelbyville Fire Station #1- 40 W Broadway St, Shelbyville, IN 46176
- Box #42: Lowell Vol. Fire Department- 1331 E Commercial Ave, Lowell, IN 46356
- Box #43: Lawrenceburg Fire Department- 300 W Tate St, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025
- Box #44: Merrilville Fire Department- 18 W 73rd Ave, Merrillville, IN 46410
- Box #45: New Castle Fire Department- 229 N Main St, New Castle, IN 47362
- Box #46: Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center Ferdinand Ambulance Station- 202 E. 3rd Street, Ferdinand, IN 47532
- Box #47: Lebanon Public Safety Building / Fire Station 11 - 975 Lasley Dr., Lebanon, IN 46052
- Box #48: Clarksville Fire Station, #1-106 E Stansifer Ave, Clarksville, IN 47129
- Box #49: Wabash Fire Department Training Center - 1000 N. Wabash St., Wabash, IN 46992
- Box #50: Muncie Fire Station 1 -421 East Jackson Street, Muncie, IN 47305
- Box #51: Westfield Fire Station #83 -17944 Grassy Branch Rd, Westfield, IN 46074
- Box #52: Gary Fire Department Engine Company #5-4959 Pennsylvania St, Gary, IN 46409
- Box #54: Kings Daughters' Health, EMS Annex Building- 600 West St, Madison, IN 47250
- Box #55: Danville Fire Station 192- 100 Twinbridges Road, Danville, IN 46122
- Box #57: Harrison Township Fire Department; Station 1-120 Hilltop Dr. Corydon, IN 47112
- Box #58: Marion General Hospital (MGH) - 441 N Wabash Ave, Marion, IN 46952
- Box #59: Boonville Fire Department-410 S 4th St, Boonville, IN 47601
- Box #63: Brownsburg Fire Territory Fire Station 131 -55 E Main St, Brownsburg, IN 46112
- Box #64: Sugar Creek Fire Department Station 41 -- 375 West National Avenue, West Terre Haute, IN 47885
- Box #65: Putnam County EMS -- 513 S Bloomington St, Greencastle, IN 46135
- Box #66: Schererville Fire Station #2 -- 280 Plum Creek Dr, Schererville, IN 46375
- Box #67: Huntington Fire Station #3 -- 1333 Etna Ave., Huntington, IN 46750
- Box #68: Martinsville Fire Department- 160 W Morgan st. Martinsville, IN 46151
- Box 69: Franklin Fire Station #22 - 1800 Thornburg Lane, Franklin, IN 46131
- Box 70: Greensburg Fire Department, Station 1 -528 N Ireland St, Greensburg, IN 47240
- Box 71: Franciscan Health Rensselaer- 1104 E. Grace St., Rensselaer, IN 47978
- Box 72: Bedford City Fire Department Headquarters-1900 H Street Bedford, IN. 47421
- Box 73: Cleveland Township Fire Department - 29515 County Road 6 Elkhart, IN 46514
- Box 76: Lafayette Township Fire Protection District - 4002 Scottsville Road, Floyds Knobs, IN 47119
- Box #77: Jeffersonville Fire Station #3 -1603 Truckers Blvd., Jeffersonville, IN 47130
- Box #79: Wayne Township Fire Department - 5401 W. Washington St. Indianapolis, IN 46241
- Box #85: Terre Haute Fire Department Station #5: 28 South 9th Street, Terre Haute, IN 47807
- Box #86: Evansville Fire Station #3: 310 N. Fourth Ave., Evansville, IN 47710
- Box #87: Evansville Fire Station #16: 2801 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN. 47710
- Box #88: Princeton Fire Territory- 500 North Embree St. Princeton, IN 47670
- Box #89: Plymouth Fire Department- 111 N Center St, Plymouth, IN 46563
- Box #90: Paoli Volunteer Fire Department- 1124 W Main Street Paoli, IN 47454
- Box #91: Rochester Fire Department-2006 East State Road 14, Rochester, IN 46975
- Box #92: Linton Fire Department-230 N.W. A St Linton, IN 47441
- Box #93: South Bend Fire Station #11- 3505 N. Bendix Dr., South Bend, IN 46628.
- Box 94: Bluffton Fire Department-204 E Market St, Bluffton, IN 46714
- Box #95: Franciscan Health Crawfordsville- 1710 Lafayette Road, Crawfordsville, IN 47933
- Box #99: Monticello Fire Department-911 W South Street, Monticello IN 47960
- Box #100: Zionsville Fire Station 92-998 S U.S. 421, Zionsville IN, 46077
- Box #104: Hanover Twp Volunteer FD- 419 W Lagrange Rd Hanover, IN 47243
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