More Safe Haven baby boxes added in Tri-State

Published: Oct. 4, 2023 at 7:00 PM EDT
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LEBANON, Ohio (WXIX) - Two more Safe Haven baby boxes were installed in the Tri-State Wednesday, giving distressed mothers more options if they’re faced with having to surrender a child.

One box was installed at the Lebanon Fire Department, while another was placed at the Union Township Fire Department in Clermont County.

“If it saves one child, that is a win for us in this community,” Lebanon Fire Chief Ryan Dipzinski said.

These were the 10th boxes installed in Ohio. 170 have been installed across the country since the program started in 2016.

The baby boxes are temperature-controlled. When opened, an alarm is set alerting dispatchers and fire crews that the baby has been placed inside.

“When the door shuts, alarms will go off that notify us at the fire station and dispatch center that something is in here,” Dipzinski said.

Monica Kelsey, the founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Box, said responders get the alarm within 60 seconds and the baby is usually pulled from the box within two minutes.

“This has always been where I started my life and I believe Ohio is going to be what really sets it apart from the rest of the country,” Kelsey said.

No babies in Ohio have been surrendered using the boxes. One person at the event distributed flyers questioning the efficiency of the boxes and how the boxes could exploit mothers.

There were two toddlers at the event who were surrendered using the boxes in other areas.

“You don’t want to not have a box and need it, you would rather have a box and not need it,” Kelsey said.

Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana abide by safe haven laws, meaning mothers who can’t find a box can surrender babies at local police and fire stations.

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