BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A new bill in the Alabama Legislature would make it possible for “baby boxes” to be placed across the state to allow a newborn baby that is abandoned to be safely and quickly cared for.

Monica Kelsey, better known “The Baby Box Lady,” started the nonprofit “Safe Haven Baby Boxes” in 2016 out of Woodburn, Indiana in an effort to make a safe and anonymous environment for a newborn baby that is surrendered.

Safe Haven’s mission statement is to “prevent illegal abandonment of newborns by raising awareness, offering a 24-hour hotline for mothers in crisis and offering the Safe Haven Baby Boxes as a last resort option for women who want to maintain complete anonymity.”

Kelsey’s goal is to have baby boxes in in various locations such as fire stations and hospitals across the country by 2025.

“We cut a hole out of the side of the firehouse, and we slide the box in. And then when a parent walks up to one of these boxes, all she has to do is open the door, place an unharmed newborn inside, shut the door, and walk away,” Kelsey said. 

Once the parent puts the infant in the box, a 911 call is made and have the ability to heat or cool depending on the weather. The babies are picked up by emergency service around “two minutes after the parent places them inside.”

Kelsey founded Safe Haven Baby Boxes due to her own story.

“A 17-year-old girl was brutally attacked and raped and left along the side of the road. She gave birth in April of 1973 and abandoned her child two hours after that child was born,” she said. “And that child was me.”

Kelsey wants to stand on the front lines to protect and help kids not be abandoned and given up in woods or streets.

Kelsey and Safe Haven Baby Boxes were brought into the spotlight in 2021 due to a series of TikTok videos that quickly went viral.

Kelsey is very hopeful that baby boxes come to Alabama. Recently, Mississippi passed legislation to receive baby boxes and Tennessee has had them since this past February.

“In Indiana, before baby boxes, we found two dead infants in our state every year. And we launched in April of 2016 at my firehouse in Woodburn, Indiana. And we haven’t had a dead infant in our state since, and we’ve had 25 infants in our boxes. And so, when you look at those stats, and you look at what we’ve done just in one state, think of what we can do across the country.”

The “Safe Haven Expansion Bill” would make it legal for the Baby boxes to be set up in Alabama and allow a parent up to 45 days old to surrender their infant to emergency services. Under current law, a parent may surrender infant up to 72 hours old to an emergency medical services provider.

The Alabama legislature is set to end Thursday.