MEHLVILLE, Mo. — The St. Louis region received its first infant rescue box with a dedication ceremony at the Mehlville Fire Protection District.
Legislation allowing for Safe Haven Baby Boxes was passed in 2021. On Tuesday morning, the box was finally installed.
This would be Safe Haven Baby Box #157, but it is the first in Missouri. Inside are a climate-controlled bassinet and blankets.
The baby box allows a parent in crisis to put a newborn into the safe incubator in the event they’re unable to care for the child.
“Thank you for allowing women in this community to have this resource, and we’re so proud to be a part of the family here that you guys have so graciously welcomed us in,” said Monica Kelsey, founder of Save Haven Baby Box.
State Representative Jim Murphy (District 94) was the law’s sponsor.
“Nothing will happen to that baby that isn’t good. And then [the parent] can walk away. There’s no cameras out here. But that gives them a safe, secure way of giving their baby a new life,” he said.
“To those women, I would say thank you. Thank you for entrusting us to care for your child. We will not let you down,” said Chief Brian Hendrick, Mehlville Fire Protection District.
Once the door is closed, a medical staff member inside will be alerted that a newborn is in the bassinet.
The baby box is installed on an exterior wall at a fire station or hospital. The door automatically locks when a newborn is placed inside. There is an interior door that allows a medical staff member to take the baby inside.
The box was paid for via a donation by Bob Gau. He was honored with a public resolution thanking him.
According to Safe Haven Baby Boxes, 32 infants have been safely surrendered via the devices.