Decatur Morgan Hospital getting Safe Haven Baby Box 

By Erica Smith 

For the Enquirer  

A Safe Haven Baby Box — where families can safely leave a baby without being prosecuted — will be installed at Decatur Morgan Hospital, and a contribution approved by the Morgan County Commission on Tuesday will help.  

“We in Morgan County recognize the sanctity of life,” said Morgan County District 2 Commissioner Randy Vest. 

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes are temperature-controlled and can be installed in locations that are staffed 24 hours a day, such as emergency rooms or fire stations. When a baby is placed inside, an alarm will sound allowing hospital staff or firefighters to immediately retrieve the baby. 

“The Fire Department and the hospital got together and chose that the best location would be at the hospital,” Vest said. 

A newborn was discovered dead in a dumpster behind a Decatur convenience store in October. Vest said the box will hopefully put an end to that type of situation. 

“One thing that we don’t want to read about again is a baby being found in a dumpster,” he said. 

Families may anonymously leave the baby in the box within 45 days of its birth without being prosecuted under state legislation passed last year. 

At Tuesday’s Morgan County Commission meeting, the commission approved an expenditure of $3,000 to go toward the box. 

“The box itself has been taken care of but they needed a little additional money as far as installation and I know that we would like to support that,” Vest said. 

In a letter to the County Commission, state Rep. Terri Collins, R-Decatur said multiple entities are contributing money for the box. 

“It is supported by the Legislative Delegation, the city of Decatur, Morgan County, the hospital and fire department,” she wrote. 

The Moulton City Council has been discussing installing a box at the Moulton Fire Department. According to Moulton Fire Chief Brian Phillips, the box costs about $15,000 and installation costs $5,000. 

“But if we can save even one life it will be worth it,” Phillips told the council last week. 

The Madison Fire Department became the first in the state to receive an infant in a Safe Haven Baby Box on Jan. 21, less than two weeks after the box was installed. 

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