HOBBS, N.M. (KRQE) – Months after it was installed at the fire department, a baby box in Hobbs is being credited for saving a newborn’s life. The Hobbs Fire Department said the baby is well, and that the box served its purpose.
“This is a great day for the community of Hobbs, New Mexico. With all the tragedy that’s been going on with these types of incidents in New Mexico, this is a great day,” commented Hobbs Interim Fire Chief Mark Doporto.
Early Saturday afternoon, Fire Station One got an alert that the baby box incubator had been used.
“I mean, we probably get at least once a week of false activation. Whether it’s the weather or electricity or something going on in that direction, but it actually said baby box door open, and then a few moments after I got a follow-up text saying item in the baby box,” explained Doporto.
The Safe Haven Baby Box is meant for people with newborn children and those up to 90 days old to surrender them without repercussions. It is an environmentally controlled incubator device that controls temperature and gives sufficient oxygen. Hobbs Fire said this baby box is the second one to be installed in the state of New Mexico.
The baby that was surrendered Saturday was taken to Covenant Health Hobbs Hospital to be examined and receive medical treatment. A Hobbs representative said the first, successful use of the baby box is proof of its importance.
“This baby box is a huge benefit to all at-risk mothers. Sometimes, they are lacking support from family from community, whatever it may be, and we want them to have a safe place for their child to be cared for if they feel that they are not able to do so,” stated Hobbs spokesperson Meghan Mooney.
The baby box in Hobbs was installed earlier this year in May. It was put in after Alexis Avila was seen on surveillance video throwing a trash bag with her newborn boy inside into a Hobbs dumpster when she was 18.
The Fire Department said the box is already back in service for future use.
“The Hobbs Fire Department is very proud and happy to have a serviceable baby box for our community, and we’re even more happy that a brave and courageous person decided to make the right decision and put this baby in the baby box,” stated Doporto.
The gender and age of the baby has not yet been released. The Fire Department said the baby will be left in the custody of the Children, Youth, and Families Department.