INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 2, 2015)- A bill is pushing Indiana’s Safe Haven law a step further. Monica Kelsey has been working for more than a year to convince lawmakers that baby boxes could save lives. Lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow baby boxes to be installed at certain safe haven locations.
“What if we find another child in the woods? What if we find another child in a creek? When is enough enough?” asks Monica Kelsey with Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
The baby boxes are climate controlled boxes, similar to an incubator.
“I kind of mention it like a heating pad; it will heat in the winter and cool in the summer. Remember this child will only be in this box for 3-5 minutes,” explains Kelsey.
There would be a series of three silent alarms that would notify emergency responders. The first alarm would go out as soon as the door on the baby box was opened.
The current Safe Haven law allows moms to give up their newborns to a person at a hospital or police or fire department without getting in trouble. Kelsey feels the face-to-face interaction may be too much for some moms.
“They don’t want to be shamed. They don’t want someone to recognize them,” explains Kelsey.
For Kelsey, this is more than a project. It’s personal. She met her biological mom five years ago.
“She gave birth to me and abandoned me two hours later at a local hospital after I was born,” explains Kelsey.
Kelsey’s mom was 17 years old when she gave birth, but she was brave enough to get help. Some moms don’t get help.
Two months ago someone left abandoned a baby in Eagle Creek Park. The little girl died. Kelsey named the baby Amelia Grace Hope. Kelsey hopes no other baby has to die the way Amelia did.
“If we can save one baby in this box, that’s enough. We don’t want to bury any more babies,” explains Kelsey.
Those opposed to the bill feel the baby boxes make it too easy for a mom to abandon her baby without exploring other options.
The bill has passed the House. If approved Indiana would be the first state to allow baby boxes.