February 18, 2014
Parents of newborn had other options
Last week’s news of the discovery of a dead newborn baby in the woods just off a heavily traveled road in North Bend caught everyone’s attention. It’s just so sad. It didn’t have to end this way.
It is still uncertain whether the baby was already dead when it was left about 10 feet from the road, to be discovered by a passerby. The umbilical cord was still attached to the infant.
It is also unknown who left the child. Mother, father or someone else? Is the mother of the baby OK, physically and mentally? It’s easy to imagine the broken heart, the torture of carrying a full-term baby and having it taken from you so early.
Whether the baby was still alive matters to all who hear the story. Either way, the child did not deserve to be left alone in the woods.
State law gives every parent an option under the Safety of Newborn Children Law. A newborn can be dropped with a qualified person at a fire station or hospital, anonymously. No one will ask your name. You will not be breaking any laws. The baby will be given medical care and placed in a good home. The parent will receive information about medical care and counseling.
Snoqualmie Valley Hospital is not too far from where the baby’s body was found.
Of course, not everyone knows about the Safety of Newborn Children Law. It’s one of those things you don’t pay attention to because it doesn’t apply — until you or a friend needs it. Tuck the information away in the back of your mind. If you only recall it vaguely, call a crisis line for help.
We understand that someone may not be brave enough to take their baby to a hospital or fire station, but any safe place where an infant can be found beats disposing of it in a woods. Someone’s porch, outside a mini-mart, inside a library — there are so many other options.
Let’s hope the reality of a newborn left in the woods touches us all. It’s another gentle reminder of the precious gift of life.