SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) —Last week, a newborn was saved after being placed inside a Safe Haven “baby box” in Indiana and now a Spring Hill woman is raising money for one in Tennessee.
Tennessee’s Safe Haven Law allows mothers to surrender their babies within three days of being born without facing charges. Drop off locations include local hospitals and clinics and fire and police stations.
However, Tennessee does not have “baby boxes” like those installed in Indiana and other states that allow mothers to anonymously surrender their babies.
Ginnie Kleinschmidt Sweeney organized a GoFundMe to help bring at least one baby box to Middle Tennessee. She said she was inspired to start the GoFundMe after reading about the baby successfully saved in Indiana. Her goal is $13,000.
In Indiana’s most recent case, seconds after the infant was left in the box outside the Seymour Fire Department, firefighters took her and began administering medical care. This “baby box’ is one of 24 installed in several states since 2016 by Safe Haven Baby Boxes.
Since 2016, Safe Haven baby boxes have helped nearly 100 mothers in the process of surrendering their newborns.
Monica Kelsey, founder of the nonprofit organization, began the initiative to give distressed mothers a safe place to drop off newborns while remaining anonymous.
Safe Haven Baby Boxes also installs safety drawers, which work similarly to the boxes, and runs a 24-hour hotline for mothers in crisis.
Kelsey, who was abandoned as an infant herself, said around two to three abandoned babies died every year in Indiana before the initiative was launched. Since then, the state has had no abandoned babies die, she said.
“These babies were left in trash cans and dumpsters. One was left at the door of a hospital. That baby had frozen to death before he was found,” Kelsey told CNN.