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Kentucky sees its 1st infant anonymously surrendered at a fire station ‘baby box’

<i>Grace Ramey/Daily News/AP</i><br/>The Bowling Green Fire Department's Safe Haven Baby Box is seen Friday
Grace Ramey/Daily News/AP
The Bowling Green Fire Department's Safe Haven Baby Box is seen Friday

By Rebekah Riess, CNN

An infant in Kentucky became the first in the state to be dropped off safely in a “baby box” at a fire station last week, following the passage of a state law allowing anonymous surrendering of newborns at such devices.

The “baby box” at a Bowling Green, Kentucky, fire station had been in operation for a little under two months when someone left the infant inside, Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder and CEO Monica Kelsey said in a press conference Friday.

The child was pulled from the box by firefighters within around 90 seconds.

“This baby is healthy, this baby is beautiful, this baby is perfect, and the Department of Child Services is now looking for a forever home,” Kelsey said.

The boxes — installed into exterior walls of designated hospitals or public safety buildings — allow newborns to be placed in the devices, which then lock on the outside and trigger silent alarms, notifying staff members to secure the babies from inside the buildings.

The devices, by Safe Haven Baby Boxes, are meant to give distressed parents a safe place to drop off their newborns while remaining anonymous, preventing the illegal abandonment of newborns. The nonprofit has set up dozens of boxes across multiple states, according to its website.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear in 2021 signed a law allowing the use of a “newborn safety device” for the anonymous surrendering of infants less than 30 days old at a participating staffed police station, staffed fire station, or a staffed hospital.

“This child that was surrendered here was not abandoned. This child was legally, safely, anonymously, and lovingly placed inside of the Safe Haven Baby Box. And that speaks volumes about the parents,” Kelsey said.

The child is the 24th baby to be placed inside one of the organization’s baby boxes nationwide, according to Kelsey.

“This child was left safely and legally in this baby box so that the baby could be pulled from the other side by the firefighter,” Kelsey added. “The fire department did exactly what they were trained to do, and it worked flawlessly.”

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