Parents drop off baby at fire station under Safe Haven Law

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The delivery of a baby is usually one of the great joys of life, but in cases where it's not; there is a second delivery that can be a life-saving alternative.

It is a situation so uncommon that since 2004, there have only been 20 such cases in Louisiana. It's 4:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Southdowns Fire/EMS Station on Perkins Road. Firefighters and EMS paramedics based out of the building are handed what they least expected.

"We had a baby, approximately one week or less baby, that was dropped off at our EMS station," said Mike Chutz, spokesperson for EMS. "The baby was delivered (and) wrapped in a towel."

Chutz said a couple walked in, handed over their baby and cited they were doing so under the Safe Haven Law. The law allows parents to drop off infants without facing any criminal charges.

"While we always promote adoption, it is critical if parents believe their children are at risk or there's a danger to their child that they know there's a safe place to bring their child at any point without any questions asked and relinquish the child," said Suzy Sonnier, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services.

The only limitations to that are the infant must be less than 60 days old and the child cannot be abused or harmed in any way. Plus, the parent has to say they're handing the child over because of the Safe Haven Law. Once the baby is handed over, medics examine the child and take it to a hospital, which is exactly what Chutz said was done.

"The medics that handled the baby said the baby seemed to be in good health and that's what this is law is all about - to try to get a child to safety when they need to get to safety," Chutz added.

Once released from the hospital, the child is then placed in the state's custody.

"We would work to find them in an appropriate foster home," Sonnier said.

It's a law officials urge parents stuck in a bind to consider as a safe option.

In order to drop the child off under the Safe Haven Law, you must drop them at a police department, fire station or any hospital. If a parent were to change their mind, they have 30 days after dropping off an infant to get their baby back from the state.

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