COLUMN: Indiana Is National Leader In Saving Newborns

Friday, January 15th, 2021 9:45am

By State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg), column

Indiana recently installed its 51st Safe Haven Baby Box, more than four times as many as all other states have combined.

(Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana recently installed its 51st Safe Haven Baby Box, and that's more than four times as many as all other states have combined. In 2020 alone, five Hoosier babies were safely surrendered in these life-saving boxes. This session, I proposed legislation to help increase the number of baby boxes across the state to help save even more vulnerable infants.

Indiana's Safe Haven law enables a parent to surrender an infant less than 30 days old to any hospital emergency room, fire station, police station or Safe Haven Baby Box within the state without fear of prosecution. Baby boxes are incubators with an alarm system that is triggered when a child is placed inside. The box is temperature controlled to ensure the baby is safe from any elements.  First responders are then able to rescue the baby and provide critical care.

I authored House Bill 1032 this session to make it easier for communities across the state to install a baby box. The bill would allow volunteer fire stations to install a baby box as long as the station is located within a municipality with a full-time police department. The bill would also permit counties with professional emergency medical service providers with 24/7 staffed facilities, to install boxes. If passed, this means Switzerland County, which has a 24/7 staffed EMS building, could install a box.

Indiana continues to be a leader in saving newborn infants and providing them a chance at life. My goal is that every county in Indiana installs a Safe Haven Baby Box, and this bill takes us one step closer to achieving that milestone. For more information about baby boxes or to donate toward installing one, visit shbb.org.

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