Ribbon cutting ceremony held for fourth baby box in New Mexico

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BELEN, N.M. – Officials in the City of Belen cut the ribbon Tuesday on the newest baby box in New Mexico. 

The temperature controlled box provides parents who need it a place to safely and anonymously surrender their baby.

“Our moms that may have to use this are trying what they can to give their babies the best life that they can,” said Belen Fire Department Deputy Chief Michael Wessels. 

Belen is the fourth city to install a baby box in the state. Boxes were also installed in Española, Hobbs, and Carlsbad. 

The need is catching more attention following several tragic cases of young mothers tossing newborns in the trash.

“Safe Haven baby boxes has brought hope back to this state because there was a baby saved in the Hobbs, New Mexico baby box three weeks ago,” said CEO of Safe Haven Baby Boxes Monica Kelsey. 

Officials hope the four baby boxes across the state will continue to provide options for mothers in need, and prevent future tragedies.

“You’re not alone. We’re here. If you need to use our service with the baby box, please do. We encourage it. We’re here, you’re not alone. We have resources and will be there for you,” said Wessels. 

Here’s how the box works: 

It’s installed on the outside of the fire station. All the mother has to do is open the door, and place their baby inside. Then, they close the door. 

One minute after the door is closed an alarm alerts firefighters a baby is inside the box.

“The anonymity is key for this program, and we cannot risk these firefighters running to this box and going face-to-face with a mother that doesn’t want her face seen,” Kelsey said. 

Orange bags with resources for the mother will also be there for her to take before leaving. 

State lawmakers are hopeful more cities will follow Belen. In 2022, lawmakers set aside funding for one baby box to be built in every county. 

“I hope that we will go forward with more positive boxes like this and many counties,” said Sen. Gregory Baca.