Safe Haven for Newborns
Washington State has a ‘safe haven’ law titled “Safety of Newborn Children”. The law allows mothers and fathers to leave their newborn baby, up to three days old, with a staff member or volunteer at any hospital emergency room, fire station, or rural health clinic.
The purpose of this law is to protect infants from abandonment and also to protect the parents from arrest or prosecution for abandonment, as long as there has been no abuse or neglect.
The following information describes how Fire District 3 can serve as a Safe Haven for newborns.
Three of the District’s fire stations are considered “Safe Haven” locations provided a qualified person is present. A newborn may not be left when crews are away from the station, or when no qualified person is present.
- Station 33: (Located in Carlsborg at: 70 Carlsborg Rd.)
- Station 34: (Located in Sequim at: 323 N 5th Ave.)
- Station 37: (Located in Blyn at: 54 Sophus Rd.)
If the parent leaves their infant with a “qualified person” at one of the above fire stations, the parent need not worry about possible prosecution.
Qualified Person Definition – For the purposes of the law, refers to any person that is reasonably assumed to be a firefighter, volunteer, or emergency medical technician, located at one of the above listed fire stations.
The law is designed to save the lives of newborns in danger of abandonment. The newborn will receive appropriate medical care and be placed in a foster home. The parent may choose to remain anonymous. The parent, if willing, will provide a family medical history, and is given information regarding options for their own medical care and counseling.
Information Handout: Safe Haven for Newborns
For more information: Safety of Newborn Children Law
Reference: RCW 13.34.360, Transfer of Newborn to Qualified Person