First Safe Haven Baby Box in Oklahoma Offers Anonymous Option for Struggling Parents
KOKH - August 15, 2023 6:30 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) — Oklahoma City is home to the first-ever Safe Haven Baby Box in the state, which provides a safe and anonymous option for parents who are unable or unwilling to take care of their newborns.
New parents are sometimes faced with hardships, and the Safe Haven Baby Box gives those parents who cannot care for their newborn the opportunity to place their infant into proper hands and surrender their unharmed baby, who can be up to 30 days old, without facing any prosecution.
The first Safe Haven Baby Box in the state is located at Fire Station 21 in Oklahoma City.
“It allows a mother to show up to the box here at station 21, open the door and place their infant inside the box,” said Deputy Chief Mike Walker with OKCFD. “There’s no shame in this, there will be no blame given to any parent who wants to surrender their child.”
According to the OKC Fire Department, once the door opens, and dispatched is notified within seconds so the child can be taken care of immediately.
“It has a pressure sensor, so once something is placed in the box, and that box is shut, the box will not open from the outside again,” said John Chenoweth with OKCFD.
Parents can anonymously surrender their infants from birth to 30 days old.
“There’s no camera to the outside facing them, so it is anonymous,” Chenoweth said. “As long as that infant is unharmed, healthy unharmed. The parent faces no prosecution whatsoever.”
The founder of Safe Haven Baby Box, Monica Kelsey says the box has saved 32 infants throughout the country in just the last six years,
“We give parents in this community and beyond the opportunity to save the life of their child and to place this child in an electronically monitored box instead of the alternative which we see every three days in America which is a dumpster or trash can,” Kelsey said.
Oklahoma lawmakers support the baby box, and hope it will save babies and their families in the state.
“I’ve always valued life, and this is definitely a life-affirming issue… we hope they choose adoption, we hope they choose an alternative but if they don’t, this is available to them,” said Senate Pro Tem (R-OKC) Greg Treat.