Baby Box Dedication set for June 23rd
HOT SPRINGS – A dedication ceremony for the new Safe Haven Baby Box at the City of Hot Springs Central Fire Station, 310 Broadway Avenue, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Friday, June 23.
The ceremony will be held at the parking lot off Olive Street, where the baby box adjoins the fire station, and will honor all the individuals and groups who made the project happen.
Fire Chief Ed Davis said that the Fire Department only played a small role, while he credited many others: Dayton Myers for spearheading the project and the Knights of Columbus Hot Springs Council 6415 for overseeing installation and maintenance costs; Cory Cangelosi and New Life Church for funding the purchase of the baby box; Dr. Mark Larey for funding the installation of the box; and Massanelli Construction, Inc. for their generous bid to complete the installation.
Davis said these contributors will be at the ceremony, along with Monica Kelsey, founder of Safe Haven Baby Boxes, Inc.
According to Myers, Safe Haven has been involved in constructing baby boxes in locations all over the country. He said there are around 15 in Arkansas, and that the Knights of Columbus have been involved in nearly all of those within the state.
“This is a last-resort tool. We never want it to be used. It would be a difficult thing to surrender a child to the fire station or ER, so this is an anonymous way for any parents who cannot take care of their child, for whatever reason,” said Myers.
The Arkansas Safe Haven Law (A.C.A. § 9-34-202) allows a mother to anonymously surrender her baby age 30 days or younger at any manned fire station. A baby box is a device that establishes a protected environment for infants that is accessible from outside of the fire station. Mothers who can no longer care for their infants would place the child inside the baby box via an outside door. The interior of the box is a climate-controlled environment inside the fire station that is designed to protect and meet the child’s needs. Once placed in the box, an alarm would sound at the fire station and the police department to notify first responders. Firefighters would retrieve the child, perform a patient assessment and meet the child’s immediate healthcare needs. The child would be transported via ambulance to a local hospital for evaluation. Ultimately, the child would be placed in the state’s foster care system prior to being eligible for adoption.