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  1. ITV Report

'Baby boxes' to allow mothers to drop off unwanted newborns launch in US

Special 'baby boxes' allowing mothers to give away unwanted babies safely have been installed at fire stations in Indiana, USA.

The hatches are climate controlled, padded and lock from the outside. An alarm is triggered when the door is opened, meaning emergency services know as soon as a baby is put inside.

Monica Kelsey - herself an abandoned baby - has launched the scheme Credit: Facebook/Safe Haven Baby Box

Similar hatches have appeared around the world - particularly in China, where second-born infants were at particular risk of being abandoned due to the country's strict one-child policy, which began to be phased out last year.

But this is believed to be the first such scheme in America.

The boxes are the brainchild of volunteer firefighter Monica Kelsey, from Woodburn, where the first baby box was installed on Tuesday.

A second was dedicated in Michigan City on Thursday, NBC News reports.

The boxes are padded and climate-controlled inside Credit: NBC News

The boxes are permitted under Indiana's 'safe haven' laws, which allow mothers to give up their babies at hospitals and police and fire stations without fear of prosecution.

Kelsey - who was abandoned as a baby herself - said some mothers want anonymity as they fear being judged for their choice.

"This is not criminal - this is legal," she said.

"We don’t want to push women away."

A 'baby box' in South Korea Credit: Reuters

According to the NY Daily News, Indiana's Knights of Columbus - the world's largest Catholic fraternal organisation - is funding the first 100 baby boxes, which cost between $1,500 (£1,035) and $2,000 (£1,380).

On the Save Haven Baby Boxes Facebook page, which Kelsey runs, she states:

With around 100 babies being abandoned every year and some of these babies being dropped off at the doors of fire stations and hospitals we have to extend the Safe Haven Law.

These women are telling us that they want complete anonymity and Safe Haven Baby Boxes will ensure that this happens.

– Monica Kelsey