BENTON, Ark. (KNWA) — Safe havens for unwanted newborns are expanding in the Natural State.
The Benton Fire Department is installing the state’s first “Safe Haven Baby Box.” This allows parents to anonymously drop off unwanted newborns into the climate-controlled box.
This comes after recent amendments adding fire departments to the state’s “Safe-haven Law” which allows parents to place newborns, 30-days and younger, in the hands of authorities without penalty as long as there are no signs of abuse or trauma.
Fayetteville Fire Department Assistant Chief Thomas Good broke down how the box is issued. “If a person was set to drop off a baby — an unwanted baby — less than 30 days old, they can open it from the outside, place the infant in the baby box, lock it, and then it sends an alarm to dispatch where the units can be notified that there is an infant in there.”
Assistant Chief Good said first responders are the only ones able to unlock and remove the baby.
Arkansas is the third state behind Indiana and Ohio to install baby boxes.