FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A new Indiana law is expanding what locations can install baby boxes.
The law, which goes into effect on July 1, will pave the way for the placement of baby boxes and other newborn safety devices at any facility that is staffed by an emergency medical services provider on a 24-hours, seven days a week basis. The previous law only allowed for installation at any fire station or hospital staffed 24-hours.
The box would have to be located in an area that is visible to staff and must be equipped with an alarm system that automatically dispatches EMS to the box as well as a video surveillance system that allows at least two people to monitor the inside of the box.
The facility must have a response time under four minutes and be located within one mile of a hospital, police station, or certain other emergency medical stations. Safe Haven Baby Box founder Monica Kelsey said this could be a game-changer for rural areas looking to install a box.
“A lot of locations that don’t have full-time fire staff, rural areas, that would make a really good Safe Haven Baby Box location,” Kelsey said. “So I do think that it’s a good option for these fire departments if they choose to do it, you know, to do the baby box programs to have that capability, even though they have to meet a little bit more standards in the 24-hour staff stations.”
The next Safe Haven Baby Box is set to be installed in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday. It is the first baby box for the state, which is only allowing fully-staffed fire departments to install boxes, similar to several other states that have installed boxes. However, she said Indiana is ahead of the curve.
“Just in Indiana, 11 babies in our boxes in four years,” Kelsey said. “That’s huge for one state and so more states are seeing the success of Indiana and saying, why can’t we do this? What do we need to do to be able to keep babies out of dumpsters and keep babies out of trash cans? If you look at everything that Indiana has to offer young parents Indiana is a front runner for women in crisis in this country and I’m proud to be a Hoosier and stand on the frontlines of this movement.”
Safe Haven Baby Boxes has resources available via phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 888-742-2133.