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Safe haven for babies: Hamilton County getting its first ‘baby box’

Published: Sep. 8, 2021 at 5:47 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 4:12 AM EDT
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DEHII TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WXIX) - Hamilton County will get its first Safe Haven Baby Box at a fire station in Delhi Township.

Delhi Trustees approved it through an emergency resolution at their meeting Wednesday night.

The resolution authorizes the township administrator to execute a lease and service agreement with Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc. for installation of a newborn safety incubator at Station 33 Fire House at 697 Neeb Road.

Delhi Township Fire Chief Doug Campbell tells FOX19 NOW they hope to have the box up by the end of March.

Ohio’s Safe Haven Law allows people to anonymously surrender their newborns with a medical worker in a hospital, a medical worker at a fire department or other emergency service organization, or a peace officer at a law enforcement agency.

“I just think it’s a wonderful avenue for saving babies who are at risk and being there for the mothers who need the help,” said Delhi Township Trustee Rose Stertz.

Under the Safe Haven Baby Boxes program, a parent can leave newborns instead of abandoning them without prosecution. Babies typically are 30 days or younger.

“So this not only takes care of that baby, but it takes care of that mom,” said Delhi Township Trustee Cheryl Sieve. “That’s a brave mother who realizes her inability to care for the child.”

The incubators, or boxes, are equipped with alarm systems to immediately notify staff inside the fire station station or 911 dispatchers.

They are climate-controlled with heating and cooling features and a door locks as soon as the baby is placed inside.

A fire station in Defiance became the first in Ohio to have a Safe Haven Baby Box back in September 2019.

Ohio currently has four. The one in Delhi Township will become the state’s fifth box.

There are several in Indiana, including a box that opened last year in Lawrenceburg.

In May, a newborn girl was left in a Safe Haven Baby Box at a fire station in southern Indiana, in Clarksville.

The infant spent less than a minute there before a firefighter was able to care for her and went to the hospital less than a half hour later, once fire crews performed initial health checks.

The Safe Haven Baby Box organization staffs a 24-hour hotline, (1-866-99BABY1) to give someone the opportunity to talk to a trained professional as they consider safely surrendering their baby.’

For more information on how baby boxes work, click here.

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