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Health

Ohio gets its 6th Safe Haven Baby Box in Union Township

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Cory Sharber
/
WVXU
The box located at Union Township Station 50 in Batavia, Oh. is accessible 24/7 and features climate control and a silent alarm system that notifies first responders of a surrendered infant.

People unable to care for babies in the Greater Cincinnati region now have another location to safely surrender them.

Union Township Station 50 is the sixth location of a Safe Haven Baby Box in Ohio and the 108th location in the country. It’s located at at 1141 Old State Route 74, in Batavia. The box is accessible 24/7, and features climate control and a silent alarm system that notifies first responders of a surrendered infant. The infant will be attended to within five minutes, medically evaluated, and then put up for adoption.

Ohio’s Safe Haven law protects birth parents from being prosecuted for abandoning their child if they safely surrender the baby. An infant up to 30 days old can be left with medical workers in hospitals, fire departments, other emergency service organizations, or a peace officer at a law enforcement agency.

Township Trustee Michael Logue says it won’t just provide a service to his community, but it’ll provide another option for the entire region as well.

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Cory Sharber
/
WVXU
Union Township Board of Trustees member Michael Logue said the community's location next to multiple interstates provides the region great access to the Baby Box. He addressed reporters during the unveiling on May 25, 2022.

“To provide that opportunity for mothers and families to know that we love them and they’re supported and that there are options to give their children opportunity, hope, and love — that’s what we want to be able to provide,” Logue said.

Fire Chief Stan Deimling says while his station spends time fighting fires, it also makes emergency service runs to deal with people that are injured or deceased.

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Cory Sharber
/
WVXU
The box is located at Union Township Station 50, 1141 Old State Route 74, Batavia, OH.

“We do that 25 times a day, so here’s an opportunity for us to bring life into the world on the opposite end of the spectrum,” Deimling said. “What a golden opportunity and how rewarding is that for the paramedics that are dealing with the other side of the spectrum day in and day out their entire career.”

Nineteen infants have been placed in Baby Boxes nationwide since 2017. Monica Kelsey is the CEO and founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes. She was surrendered as an infant due to her mother not being to care for her. Kelsey’s mother was sexually assaulted and impregnated when she was 17.

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Cory Sharber
/
WVXU
Safe Haven Baby Boxes founder and CEO Monica Kelsey discussed being abandoned as an infant during the unveiling on May 25, 2022.

“I stand on the frontlines of this movement ensuring the safety of every newborn and the safety of every mother who just wants an anonymity piece to save the live of her child,” Kelsey said. “I retired as a firefighter and a medic, and I dedicated my life now to ensuring that no baby dies in a dumpster or [is] placed in an unsafe place ever again.”

Fort Mitchell and Delhi Township were the first communities to install Baby Boxes in the Greater Cincinnati region. Kentucky also has a Safe Haven law.

The boxes are also available in Indiana, Arkansas, Florida, and New Mexico. The organization also operates a 24-hour hotline to help people with questions about surrendering a baby or adoption.