First Florida Newborn Is Surrendered To Only Life-Saving ‘Safe Haven Baby Boxes’

Newborn Baby

Photo: NataliaD/Depositphotos (Not a photo of the actual event.)

On January 5, 2023, the Ocala Fire Rescue in Florida announced that the first newborn was surrendered to the state’s only Safe Haven Baby Boxes. The child was safely recovered and transported to the hospital where they will be up for adoption. The department, which is located about 80 miles northwest of Orlando, has had the device installed since 2020.

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes is a safety device that legally allows a parent in crisis to securely and anonymously surrender a newborn if they are unable to care for them. These boxes are installed on an exterior wall of a fire station or hospital, and the door automatically locks once the baby is placed inside the Baby Box. At that point, the interior door of the box allows for a medical staff member to secure the surrendered newborn.

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes aims to prevent illegal newborn abandonment by offering a last resort for parents in crisis. In addition, the organization has a 24-hour crisis hotline and provides training for first responders.

Safe Haven Baby Boxes Founder Monica Kelsey spoke at a press conference regarding the Ocala surrender. “The first thing that we want is we want to address the parents who legally surrendered this infant. And right now I’m going to talk directly to her or him,” she said. “Thank you. Thank you for keeping your child safe. Thank you for bringing your child to a place that you knew was going to take care of this child. And thank you for doing what you felt was best.”

Safe Haven Baby Boxes: Website
h/t: [Today]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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