Just last June, after spending more than a year mowing lawns and selling scrap metal, one 19-year-old high school in Indiana scraped together $10,000 to install a “baby drop box” at his local fire station, where moms can safely place their newborn babies if they find themselves unable to care for the child themselves.
Last week, that box may have saved a baby’s life.
The newborn baby, estimated to have been only an hour old, was left inside the box at the Seymour Fire Department, and was immediately found and taken to a local hospital for care. Each Safe Haven Baby Box is equipped with an alarm that alerts fire and rescue within a minute of a child being placed inside.
“Baby Mia,” as she’s been dubbed, is expected to do just fine and will be released into the care of social workers after her release from the hospital.
"We are ecstatic that the system was used," Fire Chief Brad Lucas told CNN. "It worked perfect, exactly how it was designed to work."
The box had been in place for only a year after Hunter Wart, a high school student at Columbus North High School, had saved up enough money to install it as part of a school project. CNN reports:
"It was a lot of hard work," his mom Julia Kwasniewski told CNN. "A lot of blood, sweat and tears." Wart spent a lot of time collecting metal, which Kwasniewski helped him shuttle to a scrap yard.
The boxes were created by Monica Kelsey, who was abandoned herself as an infant, to prevent panicked and desperate moms from abandoning their babies in places like trash cans and dumpsters. Mothers who place their children in the baby boxes are not prosecuted.
Thanks to the success of the box, Wart now says he’s trying to raise enough money to install another one in the city.