Tennessee’s first Safe Haven Baby Box was used for the first time since its installation last week, according to the Knoxville Fire Department (KFD).

On Friday, May 26, at 12:19 a.m., KFD Station 17 received a “Baby Box Alert” for its Safe Haven Baby Box in the station, where it discovered a baby boy had been surrendered.

“The station crew of three immediately went to the box and found a healthy baby boy inside. The child was not injured and was quickly removed from the box for further evaluation. The station crew called for an ambulance to transport the child to the hospital,” KFD wrote in a social media post.

The Safe Haven Baby Box is a resource for mothers in crisis to “safely, securely, and anonymously surrender if they are unable to care for their newborn.”

KFD Station 17 located at 4804 Western Ave currently houses Tennessee’s only Safe Haven Baby Box. The resource was installed in February, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star.

Upon placement of a newborn inside the box, an exterior door in the Knoxville fire station automatically locks. Fire department staff can secure surrendered newborns inside the box through an interior door. Fire department staff will care for the child until personnel from the Department of Children’s Services arrive.

Mothers of newborns are legally allowed to surrender unharmed babies to designated facilities within two weeks of birth without fear of being prosecuted under the Tennessee Safe Haven Law. As long as the baby is unharmed and the child is surrendered within two weeks of birth, the mother – or parents – will not be prosecuted and will be assured of complete confidentiality.

The Safe Haven Baby Boxes organization states on its website, “Many mothers-in-crisis want and need anonymity when surrendering an infant, due either to fear of recognition, the stigma associated with surrendering a child, or fear of prosecution due to ignorance and/or misunderstanding of the Safe Haven law.”

Mothers are protected from being seen and face no face-to-face interactions during the surrender process at Safe Haven Baby Boxes.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.