Baby Safe Haven law might have saved Mesa newborn's life

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by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on August 10, 2010 at 7:32 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 10 at 5:47 PM

MESA, Ariz. -- A Mesa baby just might owe his life to Arizona's Safe Haven law.

A woman left the 2-day-old baby at the fire station at Power Road and Southern Avenue early Monday morning, and the Mesa Fire Department said she absolutely did the right thing. The fire station is a Newborn Safe Haven facility.

According to the state's Safe Haven law, a mother who does not want or feels she cannot care for her newborn baby can leave child at a Safe Haven location. As long as the baby is not hurt and younger than 3 days old, no questions will be asked and no charges filed.

Safe Haven locations include hospitals, staffed ambulances and fire stations, adoption agencies and some churches. Safe Haven facilities are clearly marked with signs.

The Safe Haven law, which was passed in 2001, is designed to prevent child abandonment by providing parents with a safe and legal option. The law states that a person who leaves an unharmed newborn with a Safe Haven provider within 72 hours of the baby's birth is not guilty of child abuse.

"I was pleased that the lady who dropped the baby off had the baby's best interests in mind," said one firefighter who was there when the baby was surrendered. "She wanted to give the baby a good home. It made me feel good that she did the right thing and saw the baby was brought to a proper location."

The baby was taken to Banner Desert Samaritan Hospital per procedure and reportedly is in good condition.

The child will be turned over to Child Protective Services and will be put up for adoption.

According to unofficial numbers from the Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office, at least 23 babies were born alive, abandoned and left for dead between 2000 and the middle of 2006.

The Arizona Baby Safe Haven hotline is 1-866-707-BABY (2229).

More information on Arizona's Safe Baby Haven Foundation.

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