Arizona safe baby havens: Using a baby box to safely give up a newborn

There are numerous safe baby havens across the state of Arizona for those who are struggling to keep a baby or who feel that they can no longer take care of a newborn.

Any hospital can be utilized as a safe baby drop-off location, but some have baby boxes built in outside of the emergency room.

"If someone doesn’t want their baby for whatever reason, they can’t take care of the baby, they don’t have the means to do it or whatever it is - they can safely give up their baby," said Dr. Lynn Lawrence, Pediatric Emergency Department Medical Director for Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa.

Arizona safe baby havens include hospitals and fire stations.

The current law states a baby can be safely given up up to three days after birth.

At Banner Desert Medical Center, they have a baby box located outside, between the emergency room and Banner Children's.

Someone wanting to give up their baby can walk up, open the box, place the baby inside, close the box, and walk away.

"They place the baby in, close the drawer, and then it triggers an alarm in the emergency department so that we come and get the baby and that’s all there is to it," Lawrence said. "There’s no questions asked, there’s no interaction. It’s very simple and straight forward."

Dr. Lawrence says that although the baby box isn't utilized frequently, it's a good reminder that it's here.

"The other safe havens - you actually have to safely hand over the baby to someone," Lawrence explained. "You have to go in to a fire department, you have to find an ambulance that’s on duty, so this has no contact with another person. 

"So maybe that might be easier for some people then having to face someone and feeling like you’re being judged or what not," Lawrence continued.

State law is changing on July 1. Instead of just having a 3-day time period after a baby is born, people will have 30 days for a newborn to be safely handed over.

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