12.19.14: ‘Safe Baby Haven’ signs seek to raise awareness
MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — “Safe Baby Haven” signs at the Muskegon police and fire departments are part of an effort to make sure people know unwanted newborns can be safely turned over to authorities.
Muskegon Public Safety Director Jeffrey Lewis says police and firefighters will meet a new mother anywhere to safely take into their care a baby within 72 hours of birth. A 911 call is needed to arrange a meeting spot.
Michigan law allows people to leave an infant at a fire station, police department or hospital and the infant must be handed over to an emergency or medical worker.
The awareness effort follows the arrest in November of a Muskegon teen for allegedly killing and attempting to bury her newborn daughter. Lewis says he believes the girl may have gone to a city fire station if she had known she could surrender the baby anonymously.
Each of Muskegon’s three fire stations now has yellow and black signs indicating a “Safe Baby Haven” for unwanted newborns. The police station also is getting a sign. The signs, which are in English and Spanish, include the words “only when staff is present.”
Mothers who leave a baby with emergency and health workers do have the ability to reclaim the child if they change their mind.