MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- An infant left inside a baby box at a northern Indiana fire department is safe and being cared for.
The child was left in the Coolspring Township Volunteer Fire Department's Safe Haven Baby Box in LaPorte County on Sunday.
This was the second time in five months that the box has been used at this particular fire station, last November an infant was also left inside the box.
“When this box was installed, we hoped that it would never be used," Coolspring Fire Chief Mike Pawlik said last November. "Yet we're thankful that it exists for cases just like the one."
Baby boxes are safety incubators where mothers can anonymously surrender their newborn babies.
The Safe Haven Law was authored by State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) in 2000 and allows parents who feel they are unable to care for an infant that is less than 30 days old to leave the child with staff at a designated safe haven location with no questions asked. The Safe Haven Boxes give parents a way to leave the child anonymously without fear of arrest or prosecution
“It is incredible to hear another infant’s life has been saved through the Safe Haven Law,” Merritt said. “This law provides overwhelmed parents with a safety net in a time of crisis, which could prevent the death of a baby. This is the second time in five months a baby has been discovered at this fire station, which shows people are aware of this law and this system is saving lives.”
Last year, lawmakers approved a law allowing hospitals to install baby boxes where infants could be safely left inside.
During the 2018 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 340, which allows fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day to use baby boxes.