MEHLVILLE, Mo. (KTVI) – A newborn girl was safely placed in a “Safe Haven Baby Box” at a Missouri fire station last week, officials said.
Mehlville Fire District responders quickly cared for the baby after discovering her in the box on Feb. 8. They then took her to a hospital for further checks. Fire officials said she is OK.
Installed on Aug. 8, 2023, this is the first Safe Haven Baby Box in the Mehlville District. It’s designed as a secure and legal option for mothers in crisis and aims to prevent the unsafe abandonment of newborns.
The box features a temperature-controlled incubator within the fire station’s wall. It lets mothers leave their newborns anonymously. Once a baby is placed inside, the door locks automatically. This gives the mother time to leave before anyone inside is alerted.
The baby girl surrendered last week is the first child that the box in Mehlville has saved. Monica Kelsey, founder and CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, said the mom made a courageous decision.
“I know that this does not come without pain. We may never know your story, but let me just tell you how many people love you, how many people have been praying for you, and it would be an honor to allow us to walk alongside you,” Kelsey said.
This represents a significant accomplishment under the Safe Place for Newborns Law that Gov. Mike Parson signed on July 15, 2021. The law allows a parent to surrender a newborn up to 45 days old without prosecution.
State Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, dedicated three years to developing and advocating for this legislation.
“We knew the value of these boxes in Missouri, and we are thankful it was there for this mother when she needed it,” Murphy said. “The mother’s courageous decision to utilize the Safe Haven Baby Box is a testament to the impact of these life-saving initiatives.”
“I always thought when we put this box in that I hoped it was never necessary that anybody would have to use it,” he added. “I am so absolutely taken back at how important it was that this box was here when it was needed.”
Murphy’s office did not elaborate on what’s next for the newborn.
There are over 200 Safe Haven Baby Boxes across 15 states in the country.