Bill to Expand Safe Haven Baby Boxes to Fire Stations Clears Panel

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA) — An amendment to a bill which would add fire departments to the list of places people are already allowed to leave unwanted babies, recently cleared a legislative panel.

The Safe Haven Act of 2001 allows any parent to leave their infant child at law enforcement agencies or medical providers in the first 30 days of the infant’s life without risking prosecution.

Senate Bill 168 would amend that law to add fire stations that are manned 24 hours a day to the locations where babies can be given up.

It would also allow the use of a baby box.

The box would include an alarm system that notifies authorities if a baby is placed inside.

State Senator Cecile Bledsoe is the sponsor of the bill, and says the goal is to save more lives that might not otherwise have a chance at survival.

Bledsoe says, “the assumption is that we get the word out that we have the babies safe haven boxes, that more women will be surrendering their babies instead of leaving them out, or putting them on a door step.”

Bledsoe says several babies have been abandoned in Arkansas, including most recently a set of twins found dead in a suitcase in Cross county.

The proposal is headed to the full senate for a vote.

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