In an effort to prevent unwanted newborns from being discarded in trash cans or dumped in other potentially life-threatening locations, a woman has created the Safe Haven Baby Box. The Safe Haven Baby Box is box installed on the exterior of safe haven locations that allows parents to place their unwanted newborn baby in the box without having to talk to someone in person about what they are doing.
The Safe Haven Baby Box was created by Monica Kelsey. Kelsey was abandoned by her mother as a newborn in 1973. She currently works as a volunteer firefighter in Woodburn, Indiana, at the Woodburn Volunteer Fire Department. Monica believes having to talk to someone face to face might prevent someone from taking advantage of the safe haven laws in their state.
Kelsey shared the following on her YouTube video.
“I know when the day comes and the first baby is placed in one of the (Safe Haven Baby) boxes that The Knights donated, my birth mother is going to be smiling down from Heaven, knowing that the child she abandoned at a hospital in 1973 is now saving abandoned babies so they, too, can be loved and adopted.”
Currently, there are two locations in Indiana that are home to a Safe Haven Baby Box. The first is the fire department where Kelsey volunteers. It was installed on her birthday, April 19, 2016. The second location is another fire department in Michigan, Indiana, the Coolspring Fire Department.
The Safe Haven Baby Box has an exterior door accessible to the public. If a parent decided they did not want or could not care for their baby, they would open the Safe Haven Baby Box and place their baby inside the padded, temperature controlled box. Once the door is shut, it locks and the Safe Haven Baby Box contains an ADT alarm that goes off, alerting first responders of the baby’s presence within 30 seconds. Emergency Medical Services should then be to the Safe Haven Baby Box location within three to five minutes.
The Safe Haven Baby Boxes cost $1,500 each. Monica Kelsey has managed to create all of this by donation only, never using funds from the state or federal level. The Knights of Columbus of Indiana have donated enough funds to place 100 Safe Haven Baby Boxes at various safe haven locations around Indiana.
In an interview with KFOR NewsChannel 4 in Oklahoma City, Development Director Pam Stenzel shared they are more than willing to help other states set up their own Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
“We developed the box with eight different revisions before we approved the final version. We will help those states and give them all of our information to get started so they don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”
Because safe haven laws vary by state, the Safe Haven Baby Boxes would have to be approved by each state’s legislation before installation. Safe Haven Baby Boxes has a link to each state’s safe haven law on their site.
The Safe Haven Baby Boxes logo features a baby’s tiny footprint. The footprint belongs to Amelia Grace Hope, a newborn found dead and discarded in Indianapolis, Indiana, on December 28, 2014. An Indiana organization claimed Amelia, named her, buried her, and placed a headstone on her grave with the bible verse John 14:18, “I will not leave you as orphans.”
If you would like to donate to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, you can visit their website. All donations are tax deductible. Stenzel encourages anyone to donate, even if it is not enough to fund a whole box.
“Even a donation of $25 can get literature into a high school, telling teens where they can safely drop off their baby.”
Anyone can call their 24-hour hotline for help at 1-866-99BABY1.
[Photo by Michael Conroy/AP Images]