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City of Oxford working to get Safe Haven Baby Box

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 5:20 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 1:59 PM CST
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OXFORD, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama’s Safe Haven law allows parents to surrender their babies to a fire station or local hospital. Now, the city of Oxford is working a on a new option to help keep infants safe.

They are partnering with the Safe Haven Baby Box organization to bring the first one to Alabama. The company says they are responsible for more than 100 safe surrenders across the country.

Data from the CDC shows that since states have passed Safe Haven laws, infant homicides have decreased. Studies show that mothers are often responsible for these homicides within 24 hours of the baby’s birth.

The city of Oxford wants to raise awareness and add additional options for safe surrenders by providing parents with a way to leave their baby anonymously in a safe environment.

The Safe Haven Baby Box is installed into the wall of a fire station and it locks from the outside after a baby is placed inside. Once it closes, a series of alarms let first responders know to check the box.

A Girl Scout with the Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama presented this idea to the Oxford City Council last year.

“She had done her research and she had all of her ducks in a row,” says Lorie Denton, a spokeswoman with the city of Oxford.

After her presentation, the city began looking at ways to bring the baby box to the city. They began working with lawyers and the state on the project and locations.

“We’re looking at our EMS building,” says Denton. “We’ll have to do some construction to make the facility be the best drop off point for a newborn baby, that is whatever reason the mother acknowledges that she can’t provide care to her baby. This is new to Alabama. But it’s definitely something that we want to make sure we’re doing what we can do to make sure this project happens.”

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