Michigan may add Safe Haven Baby Boxes for moms to drop off newborns

Since 2001, more than 200 newborns have been given up at Safe Haven sites in Michigan. Now lawmakers are looking at a new device called Baby Boxes to make it easier and safer for mothers.

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes have already been installed in Michigan City, Indiana, at a fire department. In the last six months two babies were securely placed inside of them. Michigan may do the same. 

In Michigan City,  two babies have been surrendered so far, one just a few weeks ago.

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes are on the exterior wall of the building. A young mom can walk up to the box, open the door, put the unharmed newborn inside, push a button, close the door, and walkaway. When that button is pushed, three silent alarms go off.

In the Indiana cases one baby was rescued in four minutes…the other in 90 seconds.

Monica Kelsey is the creator of the box. She testified in front of Michigan lawmakers Thursday to advocate for legislation that would allow them to be used in Michigan. This is a personal matter.

"We take this very seriously - the safety of these newborns," Kelsey said. "Back in 1973 a 17-year-old girl in crisis abandoned her child at a hospital and that child was me."

If it passes, fire and police departments along with hospitals could pay to have them installed.

"What I'm advocating costs your state nothing, it is voluntary program, and it is proven to save lives," Kelsey said.

The company says in its PSA that it wants to be an option for new moms who feel they have no more options.

There has been some pushback to the program and issues with false alarms but Kelsey says her non-profit has a 24 hour hotline for mothers too and the box is a last resort.

"We are just out there trying to save the lives of these abandoned children that deserve something better," she said.