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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, January 03, 2018 12:40 pm

'Baby boxes' bill expanded to include fire stations

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

INDIANAPOLIS -- A Wells County lawmaker announced legislation Wednesday to expand the use of so-called baby boxes this session to include fire stations.

Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, has authored Senate Bill 123 -- a continuation from a bill last year that allowed hospitals to have newborn incubators for women to drop off unwanted babies.

The 2017 effort also grandfathered two baby boxes already at fire stations in Woodburn and Michigan City.

Holdman said it's a "no-brainer" to allow other fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day to also install baby boxes. The heated, cooled and padded incubators are attached to buildings and have an alarm that goes off when a baby is placed in one. They must be inspected monthly.

Holdman said they are an extension of Indiana's Safe Haven law, which allows mothers to give up their newborns without legal ramifications to certain emergency personnel.

But with a baby box, a woman doesn't have to face a hospital worker or firefighter and give her name.

"Women want anonymity," said Monica Kelsey, a Woodburn woman who runs Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc.

For more on this story, see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit after 1 a.m. Thursday.