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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Newborn in good condition after being surrendered at Decatur Township baby box

A newborn is safe after being surrendered last week at an Indianapolis fire station baby box.
Credit: WTHR
A sign on the front of a new Safe Haven baby box installed at a Mooresville fire station.

INDIANAPOLIS — A newborn is in good condition after being surrendered inside a Safe Haven baby box on Friday, Oct. 9 in Decatur Township.

In July 2018, the Safe Haven Baby Box at Decatur Township Fire Station 74 was the third baby box to ever be installed in the United States. Last week's newborn was the ninth to be surrendered inside a Safe Haven Baby Box since November 2017 and the fifth newborn in 2020. It was the second baby to be dropped off at the Decatur Township fire station since the box's installment.

In a news conference about the drop-off Tuesday, Decatur Township Fire Department Chief Pascal Arnes said the baby was doing well after it was taken to the hospital for evaluation, which is normal procedure.

Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes and an abandoned baby herself, said no one was at the station when the baby was dropped off last week — a scenario for which the baby box was designed. Despite the crew being out on a call when the baby was dropped off, another nearby unit responded to the call from dispatch in four minutes.

"These parents are heroes as the safety of this child was the most important thing to these parents,” Kelsey said. “Your determination to keep your child safe shines on through the face of this newborn."

Kelsey said the mother left a note with the baby, thanking the fire station for having a baby box.

"This mother, without a doubt, loved this child," Kelsey said. "To the parent that surrendered this precious infant, I honor you today. I am thankful for your selflessness and love you have shown your baby. You are a hero."

The Indiana Safe Haven law allows a parent to bring a child, 30 days old or younger to an employee at any hospital emergency room, manned fire station or law enforcement agency without facing prosecution for endangering or abandoning a child. 

A parent can also use a safety device (Baby Box) that is installed in the exterior wall of a fire station or hospital to ensure 100-precent anonymity for the parent.