Tribune Staff Reports
A healthy newborn baby girl was placed inside the Safe Haven Baby Box at Seymour Fire Station 3 on Thursday afternoon, less than a year after the box became operational.
Seymour Fire Department personnel were notified by an alarm at 1:30 p.m that the infant was placed in the box at the station at 605 Meadowbrook Drive.
Seymour Fire Chief Brad Lucas said the baby was retrieved within 60 seconds from the box and taken to Schneck Medical Center.
“The system worked perfectly,” Lucas said. “We had firefighters in the building, and the ambulance was on scene within minutes. The baby was transferred to the hospital and is doing great. We are proud to have this resource available for the residents of Seymour. We strive every day to ensure the safety of our residents, and this is just a way to ensure the safety of newborns.”
She was the first newborn to be surrendered in Seymour’s baby box.
The baby box at the fire station was dedicated in June 2019. The box was funded by 2019 Columbus North High School graduate Hunter Wart, who raised $10,000 on his own by mowing lawns and scrapping aluminum cans and other metal to purchase the box as part of his senior project.
According to Safe Haven Baby Box’s website, shbb.org, there have been four babies surrendered to boxes since the first was installed in 2015. This baby would be the fifth. There are currently 21 Safe Haven Baby Boxes in the state and 25 total in the country.
Monica Kelsey, founder and chief executive officer of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, started the nationwide program in 2015 because she was abandoned at birth and later adopted.
“This mother loved this child, and it takes a very special person to want what’s best for a child and know that it’s not her,” Kelsay said. “That’s the ultimate act of selflessness. I’m so thankful she chose a safe place to surrender her child and not a dumpster or trash can like we see too many times.”
In mid-October, an infant was found alive in a plastic bag in Seymour. The baby girl was found along a fence line on South Jackson Park Drive. She was taken to the hospital for an examination, where doctors determined she was healthy.
Indiana’s Safe Haven Law allows people to take newborn babies to any hospital emergency room, police station or fire station without any questions asked and no risk of arrest or prosecution. The Safe Haven Baby Box allows anonymity with no penalty.
Lucas said there will be a news conference at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Station 3.