Paramedic: Signs Could Save Newborns
Posted July 12, 2007 7:01 p.m. EDT
Updated July 12, 2007 10:15 p.m. EDT
Rocky Mount, N.C. — To save the lives of abandoned infants, information about the state's Safe Surrender Law will be provided to North Carolina high school students, starting next year.
But a Nash County paramedic said he hopes signs that he has designed will also help spread the word about how to abandon newborns safely.
Cleveland Hunt said he was inspired after a 2-day-old boy was found dead in a trash bin behind a Rocky Mount supermarket in February. It was one of two abandoned newborns whose bodies were found in a two-day span.
"That is somebody's child. That is somebody's grandchild," Hunt said. "I feel like if this mother was aware she had a place to go to surrender the child, then maybe the child could be saved."
The Safe Surrender Law allows mothers to leave infants up to 7 days old with a responsible adult – preferably at a hospital or police or fire station – without fear of punishment. Between 2001 and 2005, at lease five women statewide took advantage of the law, officials said.
Hunt designed a sign to post at fire and paramedic stations across Nash County to let people know the stations are safe havens.
"It's our responsibility as EMS personnel and firefighters to teach the public," he said.
He also is trying to raise about $1,500 to pay for the signs.
"I think it's a great thing. The more people we can get involved in getting the word out to everyone, the more people will be aware of this," said Sheila Jefferys, adoption supervisor for Nash County Social Services.