1st newborn surrendered to Florida Safe Haven Baby Box - 96.9 WINK FM

1st newborn surrendered to Florida Safe Haven Baby Box


A newborn was surrendered to Florida’s first and only Safe Haven Baby Box, marking the first time it has been used.

The baby box is located at Ocala’s Fire Rescue headquarters. Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder and CEO Monica Kelsey, Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn and Ocala Fire Chief Clint Welborn discussed the surrendered baby during a Thursday news conference.

Ocala’s location is the only one in Florida, and it is one of 134 boxes in the U.S. When it was installed in December 2020, it marked the first Safe Haven Baby Box in Florida.

Kelsey came up with the idea for Safe Haven Baby Boxes because officials were still finding dead, abandoned babies despite states having a Safe Haven law, allowing mothers to surrender newborns to hospitals and fire stations.

“My biological father is a rapist, and I was abandoned at birth, and my life still has value. I wish that today, my birth mom would have had those resources all those years ago,” Kelsey said.

The boxes have a heater and cooling unit and are alarm-activated, according to Kelsey. The silent alarm will alert firefighters there is a baby in the box 60 seconds after the newborn is placed in it.

“Sixty seconds is enough time for mom to get away,” Kelsey said.

Once the baby is inside, the outer door locks and only safety or medical personnel can access it.

The box costs $10,000 and is leased for $200 monthly.


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