Dignity Health

safesurrender
Many of us have read tragic stories of babies left in dumpsters or other public facilities. Abandoning a baby puts the infant in extreme danger, and is illegal. Too often, this abandonment results in the baby’s death. But because of the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, this tragedy does not have to happen in California.  

The Safely Surrendered Baby Law responds to the increasing number of newborn infant deaths due to abandonment in unsafe locations. First created in January 2001, it was signed permanently into state law in January 2006 with the intent to save lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, no questions asked. This important law provides parents the option of bringing their newborn infant to any local fire station or hospital emergency room for surrender anytime day or night, any day of the week. This option is safe, legal, and confidential.

The parent is not required to provide an explanation, but personnel receiving the infant will request that a medical survey be completed in order to provide a family medical history, which is valuable in caring for the infant. When surrendered, the baby will be examined and given medical treatment if necessary. A bracelet will also be placed on the child for identification purposes, with a matching one provided to the parent. This connects baby and parent, in case the parent decides later that they want the baby back. Under the Safely Surrendered Baby Law, a parent has 14 days to claim the infant. Following the safe surrender process, the baby will be placed in a foster or pre-adoptive home.    

The Bakersfield Fire Department has received several safely surrendered babies since this law was implemented, and BFD Firefighters can attest to the value of this life-saving option. The Department will also appear in a recently filmed state-wide Safely Surrendered Baby PSA.

For more information, please see the California Safely Surrendered Baby Law Website: www.babysafe.ca.gov

For additional safety tips from the Bakersfield FIRE Department, please visit: www.bakersfieldcity.us/fire.

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