Anonymity could help make sure abandoned babies are left in safe places. That’s the idea behind new legislation in Lansing.
Michigan’s Safe Delivery law allows parents to surrender a child no more than 72 hours old to an employee at a hospital, fire or police station, or by calling 911. But that requires some level of face-to-face interaction. A bill in the state legislature would allow parents to surrender babies to a so-called “newborn safety device.” Those are boxes installed at hospitals and other surrender locations. They’re electronically monitored and temperature controlled.
Last summer, a man came out of a hospital in Grand Rapids to find a newborn baby left in his car.
“So this mother, knew that this location was a safe haven location, she went all the way there, but she couldn’t walk inside and hand her child to a person,” said Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder Monica Kelsey. She said some people can’t handle the face-to-face interaction of surrendering their child.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes is a non-profit that partners with locations to install boxes and provide outreach.
“We hope we never have to use them,” said Kelsey. “We hope a mother doesn’t pick these. But we do know that if they’re out of options, we have to have a final option for these moms that feel they have no other choice.”
Currently Indiana has two baby boxes. Ohio is scheduled to install its first box next month.