TikTok Shows How a Fire Station's Safe Haven Baby Box Helps Abandoned Babies

After learning that she was abandoned as an infant, Monica Kelsey founded Safe Haven Baby Boxes. Now, she's showing people how it works.

Midtown firehouse
Photo: Getty Images

The first Safe Haven law was established in Texas in 1999, and since then, all 50 states have enacted their own version of the law, which provides parents of newborn babies who are unwilling or unable to care for a child a way to relinquish parental rights safely and anonymously within a certain time frame. One of the ways they can do that in some states is by leaving their child in a safe, legal baby box, like the Safe Haven Baby Boxes that went viral on TikTok.

In a viral clip, founder Monica Kelsey broke down what a Safe Haven Baby Box is and how it works. Safe Haven Baby Boxes are installed at either local fire departments or hospitals. They're electronically monitored and are equipped with silent alarms that notify authorities as soon as the door opens and once a baby is inside.

The parent in need can then place their child inside the baby box's bassinet, retrieve a Safe Haven Baby Box orange bag which includes resources for surrendering parents, then close the door, after which it cannot be opened again from the outside. Then, emergency responders retrieve the baby from a door on the inside of their facility, evaluate the child, and take them to the emergency department (ED).

According to the Safe Haven Baby Box website, boxes like these are a part of safe haven laws in Arizona, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania.

Kelsey was inspired to create the boxes after learning she was abandoned as an infant and seeing a "baby box" operation at a church in Cape Town, South Africa. There are now over 100 baby box locations in multiple states and five baby drawers in Arizona.

The nonprofit founder told WRTV Indianapolis that parents who surrender their infants "come from all walks of life."

"We have had a registered nurse come through our program, a mom with four kids, a single mom, and career dads," she noted. "This option of surrendering is available to anyone who finds themselves in a crisis if they feel this is the best option for them. After a mom calls us, the first thing she wants to know is 'is my baby safe and is my baby healthy.' That speaks volumes about these moms. These moms absolutely love their children; they are just in a crisis that you or I may not understand."

The organization's main focus is on raising awareness about safe haven laws and protecting newborn babies.

For more information on safe haven locations, visit the National Safe Haven Alliance, call 1-888-510-BABY, or text SAFEHAVEN to 313131.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles