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Indiana Safe Haven Baby Box Welcomes Second Child in Five Months

Photograph by Twenty20

It is upsetting to hear about a mother discarding a baby—in a dumpster, at the airport, on a highway or anywhere else that puts a life in jeopardy—but that doesn't stop it from happening.

Though all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted "safe haven laws,” Indiana was the first to unveil a safe and secure way to surrender a healthy newborn without fear of criminal prosecution. In 2016, officials installed two Safe Haven Baby Boxes: one at the Woodburn Fire Department near Fort Wayne and another at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department in Michigan City.

Since then, 3,317 infants have been safely surrendered to Safe Haven locations nationwide, but according to CBS Chicago, that number just went up by one.

For the second time in five months, a newborn has been rescued at the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department in Michigan City.

Volunteer firefighter Lt. Chuck Koehler was on his way to the grocery store earlier this week when he received a medical alarm page. When he arrived on the scene 30 seconds later and heard crying, he opened up the baby box and found an infant girl with her umbilical cord still attached. She was transported to a nearby hospital for further examination.

“You want every child to be born, grow up with their parents,” Koehler said at a press conference. “When that cannot happen for whatever reason, this is a wonderful alternative.”

Much like baby Hope, who was found in the exact same location back in November—approximately one hour old, covered in blood—firefighters were thoughtful when naming this little girl Grace.

Monica Kelsey, founder of the Safe Haven Baby Box program and a victim of abandonment herself, said she understands how difficult a decision like this can be for a mother.

“I want to thank the mom for doing the right thing,” she said, “and having the courage to find a safe place for her newborn, and surrendering it under the Safe Haven law.”

Safe Haven Baby Boxes are a last resort for women in crisis, designed to protect both the mother and child. Each box comes equipped with a silent alarm that will trip once the door is open, alerting emergency personnel within 30 seconds that a newborn has been placed inside. The child will then be picked up by EMS within three to five minutes.

These two little girls now have a second chance at life. The next box will be installed in Ohio on April 26.

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