Hobbs community celebrates new Safe Haven Baby Box at Fire Station
The second Safe Haven Baby Box in the State of New Mexico was recently installed at a fire station in Hobbs.
On Tuesday, local and state officials gathered at Hobbs Fire Station 1, 301 E. White St., to bless and celebrate the new device that will enable safe and anonymous drop offs of infants.
Under the state’s Safe Haven Law, a mother in crisis is legally permitted to safely, securely and anonymously surrender their newborn if they are unable to care for them. Since the law passed in 1999, more than 4,500 babies have been saved, according to the National Safe Haven Alliance.
“Every human being that comes into this life, this world, deserves a chance to live that life.”
The Baby Box is an environmentally controlled incubator device designed to keep an infant in a secure and safe environment, according to Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb, who spoke at Tuesday’s event.
The device provides oxygen, a comfortable temperature and is equipped with a transparent door and safety alarm that immediately notifies operators that an infant has been placed in the device, the mayor said. Once staff is notified, appropriate authorities will be called and the child will receive medical treatment and services.
Hobbs Fire Chief Barry Young said the crew at the Fire Station are “cross-trained firefighter EMTs.”
“We’re prepared,” he said, adding, “We left the box open last night. We didn’t get any phone calls.”
A $10,000 state grant, a fundraiser and a donation from MECA Therapies were among the funding sources for the Hobbs Baby Box. The device was installed in partnership with the National Safe Haven Alliance, which now has 145 Baby Boxes in 10 states, according to Executive Director Heather Burner.
The goal is to have a Baby Box in every county in the state, Sen. David Gallegos said at the event.
“I think this really puts us on the mark that we are here to protect life,” Gallegos said, adding that saving just one life will “make it all worthwhile.”
Hobbs Police Chief August Fonshas called the new Baby Box “a Godsend to this community.” It’s personal for the chief, who has an adopted daughter due to a mother who couldn’t care for her. The chief calls her a “miracle.”
“I speak for all the law enforcement, I’m sure for everybody in this room, that every human being that comes into this life, this world, deserves a chance to live that life,” Chief Fonshas said.
The chief said his message to new mothers is, “if you find yourself struggling, if you find yourself in a state where you don’t know what to do, if you find yourself wondering what am I going to do with this baby, I can’t deal with this, you now have an option here. Your baby will be taken care of here. You don’t have to tell them who you are. You don’t have to do anything but drop the baby off and he or she will be taken care of. There’s no stigma to that, no nothing.”
See more photos from Tuesday’s celebration on the City of Hobbs’ Facebook page.