Nevada’s Safe Haven Law provides alternative to parents who want to surrender their baby

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A memorial is growing in a North Las Vegas neighborhood as police try to determine who put a dead baby in a dumpster. The boy was between 1 and 6-months-old, and the Clark County Coroner has not yet released his cause of death.

The boy was found Sunday near Las Vegas Boulevard and Carey. While many endure the challenges of parenthood, it may be too much for others. 8 News Now learned more about an option for those who need to surrender a newborn.

Nevada’s Safe Haven law allows a parent to surrender a baby up to 30-days-old at any hospital, urgent care, police or fire station or with an ambulance driver without any questions.

“We’re trying to make it as convenient as possible,” said Las Vegas Fire and Rescue Public Information Officer Tim Szymanski.

The agencies can accept the newborn as long as the baby doesn’t show signs of abuse. But a reminder to parents, be aware of one aspect of the law.

“You can’t leave the child unattended. Then, you abandon the child. You can be charged for that,” noted Szymanski.

The National Safe Haven Alliance reports 11 safe haven babies were relinquished in Nevada between 2000 and May 2019. There have also been 11 abandonments, including three babies alive and eight deceased, during that time frame.

“We’ve seen them left in closets, in dumpsters, different places like that,” stated Szymanski. “there is an alternative where you can surrender your child.”

UMC staff have also seen babies left at the hospital.

“I would say at least once a year we have a situation like that,” revealed Dr. Jay Fisher, medical director for the pediatric emergency department at UMC Children’s Hospital Nevada. “It isn’t always an infant under 30 days, though it can be older children, as well.” He said they’ve seen children up to 1 and 2-years-old.

If a parent wants to surrender a child who is more than 30-days-old, there are other options.

“They can still come to us, and we can help them,” stated Dr. Fisher. “We have social services that can help them. We have physician referrals that we can help them with.”

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