Hours-old baby girl found alive in plastic bag near Indiana roadway: Police

The case highlights the importance of Safe Haven laws.

A baby girl just hours old was found alive and healthy in a plastic bag alongside an Indiana roadway, police said.

A person walking a dog in Seymour, about 60 miles south of Indianapolis, spotted the infant just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, Seymour police said.

The baby was found along a row of fence about 20 yards off the road, police said.

The newborn was taken to a medical center and determined to be healthy. Seymour police Sgt. C.J. Foster said he checked on the little girl at the hospital Wednesday morning and said she was doing well.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Foster said police were still working to determine who the baby's mother is.

The case highlights the importance of Safe Haven laws.

"The Seymour Fire Department currently has a Safe Haven Baby Box at Seymour Fire Station 3," the police department said in a statement. "Safe Haven Baby Boxes installed at fire stations allow an individual to surrender a newborn baby in a box that opens from the station's exterior wall. If a mother opens the door to surrender the child inside the box, a 911 call goes out and an alarm is sounded. When the door shuts, the child is locked on the inside of the box, and only fire and medical personnel on the inside can retrieve the child."

Safe Haven laws, or Safe Surrender laws, differ by state, including how much time after birth a parent or guardian has to surrender the child. In 32 states, parents or guardians have 30 days to relinquish the child, Damien Johnson, director of communications of the National Safe Haven Alliance, told ABC News last week.

Laws also differ on which locations are considered safe havens. In every state, a hospital is a safe location. Some states also allow a child to be taken to a fire station or police station, said Johnson.

The first Safe Haven law was enacted in Texas in 1999, and since then all states, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have passed Safe Haven legislation, saving over 4,000 babies, according to the National Safe Haven Alliance. There is no federal legislation, Johnson said.

You can reach the toll-free crisis hotline at 1-888-510-BABY or get information on your state by clicking the map here at nationalsafehavenalliance.org.