House Bill


Allowing a Volunteer Fire Department to operate a newborn safety device under the Safe Haven Act


Bill Primary sponsors



Filed: 1/9/2023 4:33:56 PM

Original Title

To clarify that a Volunteer Fire Department may operate a newborn safety device under certain conditions under the Safe Haven Act.


What it does

This legislation allows volunteer fire departments to install newborn safety devices under certain circumstances including monitoring and response time requirements. Sen. Cecille Bledsoe passed a bill allowing these devices at fire departments with 24/7 staff in 2019. Since that time, 3 babies have been saved through their use. Currently, 11 fire departments have a safe haven baby box.

How does it work?

According to bill sponsor Rep. Julie Mayberry, a woman who has had a baby within the last 30 days can surrender the baby anonymously in one of these boxes. "No blame, no shame," Rep. Mayberry said. The boxes are air conditioned and heated and an alarm sounds when a baby is placed in the box. It triggers notifications to multiple people within the fire department, EMS, and 911 dispatch. This bill would allow volunteer fire departments to install these boxes under certain circumstances, including ensuring the department is within 1 mile of EMS and someone can be there within 4 minutes. The devices include a surveillance system so the baby is visible at all times.

Where are boxes currently located?

There are 2 in Benton, 2 in Rogers, 1 in Springdale, Jonesboro, Conway, Maumelle, Ft. Smith, El Dorado, and Nashville.

How is it paid for?

The boxes are privately funded. Initial installation costs are around $15,000 with ongoing costs of around $38 a month for monitoring and $200 a year for inspections.

What else does this bill do?

This bill allows a mother who delivers a baby and knows she is unable to keep the child to surrender it at the hospital at the time of birth. According to Rep. Mayberry, under current law, the woman must leave the hospital with the baby first and then turn around and take the baby back into the hospital to surrender it.



Signed into law


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