SEYMOUR, Indiana (WLKY) — A newborn baby girl in Indiana is safe and healthy after being surrendered in a Safe Haven Baby Box at the Seymour Fire Department on Thursday.
The infant was just an hour old when she was placed in the box around 1:30 p.m. Friday.
Within seconds, firefighters removed her from the temperature-controlled box and began giving her medical care before taking her to a nearby hospital.
“I am so thankful that she did place this child in a safe place, because we know what can happen when they don’t,” said Monica Kelsey, the founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
This is the first infant who has been surrendered in the Station 3 baby box, which was installed in June.
It was made possible by 19-year-old Hunter Wart, who raised $10,000 by mowing lawns and scrapping metal for more than a year.
“I am glad that she is safe, and that I was able to raise the money and have it put here so that she could be safe,” Wart said.
The baby boxes allow parents to anonymously surrender an infant, no questions asked, under Indiana’s safe haven law.
“Our baby box is a last option for moms. We want them to choose a parenting plan. We want them to choose an adoption plan. But if they can’t do those, we don’t want a baby in a dumpster,” said Kelsey, who herself was abandoned when she was just 2 hours old.
Over the last two years, five children have been placed in baby boxes across the state of Indiana.
“This can’t be an easy decision when a mother basically says, ‘I want what’s best for my child and it’s not me,'” Kelsey said. “That’s got to be one of the most selfless acts a mother can do.”
Kelsey said while the number of instances of infants being abandoned has decreased, it does still happen.
In October, a Hispanic newborn girl was found inside a plastic bag near a wooded area just a mile from the Seymour fire station. The baby was unhurt and was turned over to Child Protective Services.
Kelsey realized after that incident, her organization needed to reach Spanish-speaking mothers, as well.
“We have to make sure that our literature and our signage, which you can see has been translated for our Spanish-speaking friends, because if we want them to know the law, they have to be able to read the law,” she said.
She is working to install more baby boxes throughout the country, and said she’s grateful this one was in place.
“This little girl’s life is going to go on,” she said. “This little girl has a story to tell.”