Safe Haven signs appear at Glenwood Springs fire stations
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Bilingual signs saying anyone can drop off an unwanted infant with impunity went up Monday at Glenwood Springs’ three fire stations.
The signs went up as part of an effort to promote understanding of Colorado’s Safe Haven Law and prevent the death of abandoned infants. Funding for the signs, which are going up around Colorado, has been donated through a partnership with Waste Management, Colorado Safe Haven for Newborns said in a news release.
Glenwood Springs Fire Department Capt. Chad Harris said he does not know of any instances in recent history of babies dying in Garfield County due to abandonment, or any instances of babies being handed to hospital or fire department personnel under the Safe Haven Law. However, the signs will ideally help prevent desperate parents from leaving an infant for dead.
“I think it’s more for awareness and for people to know that it is OK,” Harris said.
The Safe Haven Law says anyone can hand over an unwanted baby at a hospital or fire station within 72 hours of its birth with no questions asked. The law promises confidentiality, and there is no punishment so long as the infant is unharmed. Babies must be handed to an actual employee of the fire station or hospital, and not simply left nearby.
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The law was enacted in 2000. Safe Haven for Newborns said the law has been used more than 27 times in Colorado since its inception. More than 100 newborns are murdered or left for dead in the U.S. each year, the organization said.
Safe Haven for Newborns says the problem of infant abandonment crosses all socio-economic and racial groups, and the average age of mothers who abandon infants is 19. They typically hide their pregnancies and distance themselves from friends and families.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121