The Indiana House of Representatives recently honored a Bartholomew County teen for his fundraising efforts to prevent infant deaths in the community. Columbus North High School graduate Hunter Wart spent more than a year collecting scrap metal and mowing lawns to raise the $10,000 needed to install a Safe Haven Baby Box at the Seymour Fire Department. In January, Wart’s hard work led to the first child in the Seymour community saved using this life-saving device.
In 2015, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation allowing local cities and towns to install Safe Haven Baby Boxes in fire stations and hospitals across the state. This resource allows distressed parents to surrender their baby safely and legally while remaining anonymous. Since then, there have been no reported infant deaths from illegal abandonment.
The temperature-controlled box alerts first responders within a minute of placing the child inside. When the door of the box is first opened, a silent alarm is triggered, sending an alert to emergency providers and nearby staff.
Indiana is now leading the nation in the number of baby boxes, with 21 installed throughout the state, and more communities are working to add them. If a Safe Haven Baby Box is not available, parents can still legally surrender their infant under the Safe Haven Law.
This law allows people to anonymously leave infants younger than 30 days old with emergency service providers with no questions asked, as long as the child shows no signs of abuse.
If you or someone you know is considering surrendering a newborn, trained professionals can be reached at any time by calling 1-866-99baby1.
For more information visit shbb.org.