By Dave Andrusko
Safe Haven Baby Boxes is a win-win solution for newborns and their mothers. They get some attention but this life-saving option deserves much more. The Safe Haven Law is designed to protect babies from being hurt or killed from abandonment by parents who are unwilling or unable to provide parenting.
I just read about the arrival of the first Safe Haven Baby Box in Mississippi. The site is a fire station where it “will be placed on the opposite side of the Long Beach Fire Department,” Ansley Brent reports.
“How it works is that the parent or parents can open up this door and it will alert EMS and 911 that a baby has been placed inside of it. Once they respond, they will take the child to the nearest hospital so they can be medically examined.”
It’s not the only option but fire stations are an especially good one because there is always someone there. “Long Beach Fire Chief Griff Skellie told Brent, ‘We’re very happy that we’re involved in it. Our job is to help save people’s lives and this is just another tool that we can use to do that.’”
Brent writes, “To ensure the baby box is comfortable for the baby in the short amount of time it is present inside of it, the box will be climate controlled at 74 degrees year-round.”
There were naturally some delays. It took a total of ten months for the first ever Safe Haven Baby Box in the state of Mississippi to arrive.
The driving force was Haven Baby Box Advocate Caitlin Kelly. In that ten months, “Kelly has gone through several different cities to see if they would house a baby box while also changing the entire legislation of the safe haven law.”
Kelly explained that “The purpose of the box is really an extension of the existing Safe Haven Law. Our safe haven law now states that you can surrender a child safely without the fear of prosecution 45 days or younger. The beautiful thing about the box is it is the only anonymous option in the state, and in many states as well.”
Volunteers, such as Bottom 2 Top Construction, pitched in to install the box. Bottom 2 Top Project Manager John Dellinger said, “We volunteered to provide all the labor. Us and Commercial Electric are going to do the installation of the baby box. We’ll provide all the demolition and rough framing for it, and the installation and Commercial Electric will do all the wiring connection to make it all function.”
Kelly “is thankful for the ‘yes’ given by the people of Long Beach and the other cities that have shown interest in the baby box.
“The biggest part for me is seeing God move through all of this. The right people were in my path the entire time and He knew the next step. Watching Mayor Bass be on board, Chief Skellie and everyone and the Aldermen that really wanted to have this community. It’s not only exciting for Long Beach, but it’s exciting for the entire state.”