If you've ever wondered how exactly a Safe Haven Baby Box works, a TikTok from the founder of the boxes has been going hugely viral on TikTok.
Beginning in the late '90s, Safe Haven laws started being implemented across the United States. These laws decriminalize the act of leaving unharmed infants as wards of the state. Today, each of the 50 states has Safe Haven laws in place.
The baby boxes, typically found at fire stations, EMS locations, and hospitals, are devices made with the intent of saving infants surrendered under each state's safe haven statutes. The hope is that these boxes will help prevent tragedies like finding abandoned newborn bodies in dumpsters or abandoned outdoors.
In the TikTok, Safe Haven Baby Box founder Monica Kelsey demonstrates how the boxes work.
"If a parent walks up to one of our Safe Haven baby boxes, and they need to utilize this resource that we've made available to them, all they have to do is walk up to the baby box, open the door, take the orange bag, place their newborn inside, shut the door, and walk away."
The video shows that the newborn inside the box is safe and secure for a full two minutes before alarms automatically sound off to alert firefighters that a baby is in the box.
What is a Safe Haven law?
In 1999, Texas was the first state to enact an infant safe haven law (called "Baby Moses laws" at the time). These laws exist as an incentive for mothers in crisis to safely relinquish their babies to designated locations where each baby is protected and provided with medical care until it's placed in a permanent home.
These laws allow the parent surrendering their infant to remain anonymous and to be protected from criminal liability or prosecution for child endangerment, abandonment, or neglect. To date, all 50 states as well as Washington, D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rick have enacted safe haven legislation.
The founder of the Safe Haven Baby Box, Monica Kelsey, always knew she was adopted. When she was 37 years old, she learned that she was conceived during a rape and was abandoned as an infant. Her personal story inspired her to advocate for infants in similar situations. According to the Safe Haven Baby Box organization website, Kelsey hopes to one day eliminate illegal infant abandonment across the U.S. and around the world. She's also a U.S. Navy Veteran, a former firefighter and medic.
The baby box consists of a glass crib like the ones newborns use in the hospital. After two minutes and five seconds, the video shows how firefighters rescue the infant in the box.
In follow-up videos on her account, Kelsey answers all of the most frequently asked questions—like, "What happens after the baby is rescued from the box?"
According to shbb.org, 15 babies have been surrendered inside Safe Haven Baby Boxes since the first was installed in 2016. Three other babies have been surrendered at fire stations with Safe Haven Baby Boxes. There have been over 100 surrenders nationwide resulting from calls to the Safe Haven Baby Boxes national hotline.
There are over 70 baby boxes across Indiana, as well as several in Ohio, Arkansas and Florida.
To see a complete list of locations and addresses, visit shhb.org/locations.