TROY — A long-awaited asset that will save the lives of newborn babies was dedicated at Troy’s new fire station during a ceremony on Friday, Aug. 26.
Community leaders gathered at Troy Fire Department Station 11, located on Canal Street, to dedicate Newborn Safe Haven Baby Box Number 118.
The baby box concept is the brainchild of Monica Kelsey, who envisioned the boxes as a way to save the lives of newborns whose mothers find themselves with an infant they are not able to care for.
“Today we give women in your community another option that they didn’t have yesterday,” said Kelsey during her remarks, “and options are good for parents in crisis.”
The box, actually more of a climate-controlled infant crib, is located inside the lobby of the new fire station. If a new mother finds herself in the situation of being unable to care for her newborn, the Safe Haven box is a safe and secure alternative to abandoning a child “on the street.”
Once a newborn is placed in the box, signals are sent to alert Troy Fire Department and Miami County Communications Center dispatchers so that the infant can be immediately cared for.
The process is completely confidential.
Matt Simmons, fire chief for the city of Troy, said he and his department, welcome the baby box and the additional option it provides to young mothers.
State Rep. Jenna Powell, R-80 District, U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-OH 8th District, and Troy Mayor Robin Oda, all echoed Kelsey with positive comments that the box will save the lives of infants who, otherwise, might not survive.
“Forever, box number 118 will be located in Troy, Ohio,” said Kelsey, ” It never gets old, getting a call from a fire chief. usually at 2 a.m., saying, ‘Monica, I just want to let you know that we just got a baby in one of our boxes.”
Kelsey said that she always asks two questions … is the baby healthy, and is it a boy or a girl?
“I’ve never once had anyone tell me the baby is not healthy,” said Kelsey. “To date, since November of 2017, we have had 21 babies in our boxes. Twenty-one lives have been changed because of an idea.”
The box is available 24 hours a day.