STATEHOUSE – Gov. Eric Holcomb on Tuesday ceremonially signed into law legislation authored by State Rep. Randy Frye (R-Greensburg) to make it easier for communities to install Safe Haven Baby Boxes to save vulnerable infants.
According to Frye, Indiana’s Safe Haven Law allows a parent to surrender a newborn fewer than 30 days old to any hospital emergency room, fire station, police station or Safe Haven Baby Box without fear of prosecution. Baby boxes are temperature-controlled with an alarm system that alerts first responders when an infant is placed inside. Frye said this new law allows communities to install a baby box at a volunteer fire station or a facility staffed 24/7 by professional emergency medical service providers.
“We’ve already seen several communities around the state take advantage of this new law and install their own baby box,” Frye said. “My goal is for every county in Indiana to have a Safe Haven Baby Box, and this take us one step closer to achieving that milestone.”
Frye said many communities in Indiana are served primarily, or entirely, by volunteer fire stations, and some communities do not have hospitals. He said he authored the new law after learning two constituents struggled to get a baby box installed in Jefferson and Switzerland counties. Before this law, baby boxes could only be installed at either a hospital or a full-time fire station.
For a box to be installed at a volunteer fire station, Frye said it must be located within one mile of a hospital, police station or emergency medical service station and meet the minimum response time established by the county, which is usually four minutes. The baby box will also need to have an independent video surveillance system allowing at least two members of a fire department to monitor the inside of the device at all times.
Indiana currently has more than 60 Safe Haven Baby Boxes located around the state, which helped save the lives of five babies in 2020.