NAM/NAAM Day 29: Crazy Claim: Safe Haven Baby Boxes Lower Infant Mortality Rates. Stats Show Differently

Oh, boy! Send in the clowns!

On Tuesday (November 27) Brazil, Indiana got its very own Safe Haven Baby Box. SHBB Inc Founder and CEO Monica Kelsey was unable to attend the blessing as she usually does due to her trip to Newberry, Florida to open a box there on Thursday.

Mrs. Kelsey’s close associate, Linda Znachko, founder of the baby burying ministry, He Knows Your Name, pinch-hit for her. (Sidenote: the ministry advertises the legal services of the notoriously anti-adoptee rights /baby grabbing adoption law firm Kirsch & Kirsch.)

Znackko is always entertaining. She attends many of the box blessings and often speaks at them. She likes to tell us that the day a baby is chucked into one of their abandonment boxes is (ADOPTEE TRIGGER WARNING–“a birthday party is waiting to happen.”

She also likes to speak of the commonality amongst the boxed baby, the “desperate mother,” and the rest of us. We all have feet.

I assume Znachko celebrated likewise in Brazil, but there is no complete video of the box blessing online; only a couple of snippets. A few news outlets covered the event, but in no detail, so I’m taking this account from WTWO-TV (Terre Haute) since it is the most complete coverage, even if it doesn’t give us the Full Monty.

According to this report, Znachko made the most astounding claim during the ceremony:

I believe that it is the number one initiative that we have to battle infant mortality in the state of Indiana and across our country. Even though it’s a privately funded device, it is the private sector and the public sector coming together to battle this really important issue,” Znachko said.
In the previous report mentioned by the Indiana Department of Health, more than 2,700 infant lives have been lost in the last five years.
The report said that is more than 38 school buses filled at maximum capacity.



Indiana has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, yet Znachko claims that SHBB Inc is making a dent in the number of infant deaths. not only there, but all over the country, but offers no evidence that it has caused even the slightest decrease. We just know! She either hasn’t bothered to delve into stats from the Indiana Department of Health and other statistical sources online or the SHBB Inc Magical Thinking Machine has sprung a spring. The incurious media doesn’t blink an eye.


The infant mortality rate is determined by the number of infant deaths for every 1000 live births in 1 year.

In 2023 the Indiana Department of Health issued Infant Mortality–Causes of Death Distribution, 2017-2021. (No full later reports have been issued.) Some parts of the report extend back farther than 2017. For instance, the 2012 the mortality rate was 6.7. By 2017 it was 7.3, but by 2021 it had fallen back to 6.7–1.3 above the national rate. The state’s Non-Hispanic Black rate was a whopping 13.2. While the Non-Hispanic Black rate has decreased, there is no reason to believe that these rates in general have changed much since the report was issued.

The report indicated that in 2021, out of 536 infants who died before their first birthday, 342 (68.8%) died between the age 0-27 days with 38.8% of those deaths occurring the first day of life, the time considered most likely for discard to occur. The report indicates that only 0.6% of neonatal deaths are caused by assaults and injuries (injuries not defined.) By far, the 2 major causes of neonatal death are perinatal risks, (63.7%) and congenital defects (25.7%), neither of which can be decreased by Safe Haven Baby Boxes.

The Safe Haven law cut-off point in Indiana is 30 days of age. Znachko, then, needs to be talking about the neonatal mortality rate– 0-27 days of age, which fits nicely into the state’s safe haven’s legal protocols–not the 1- or 5 or 10 year-spans of all infant deaths.

The top 5 reasons for neonatal death (0-27 days of life) published in the Indiana Department of Health’s Perinatal Risks for Infant Death 2016-2020 are (1) short gestation/low birthweight; (2) respiratory conditions originating in perinatal state; (3) bacterial infections; (4) maternal complications; (4) hypoxia and asphyxia. Perinatal risks are broken down further in the charts. Safe HavenBaby Boxes have nothing to do with these outcomes.

According to the 2017-2021 report, the 4 major factors that contribute to infant mortality are: obesity; smoking; limited prenatal care, and unsafe sleep practices. 28.3% of births occurred to women who had no pre-natal care in the first 3 months. of pregnancy. Safe Haven Baby Boxes have nothing to do with decreasing these behaviors.

Lack of medical services plays big in Indiana.

According to the 2023 American Health Foundation’s Health of Women and Children’s Report, Indiana suffers from a critical lack of maternity care facilities. Much of the state is a maternity desert and ranks 39th in maternity care. A 2019 report by WTHR investigative reporter Sandra Chapman indicated that 33 Indiana counties either lacked a hospital with OB services or had no hospital at all. Moreover, the state had the 3d highest maternal mortality rate in the US. (Death of mother) My own records indicate that of those 33 counties lacking easily accessible medical and maternity care, 18 have baby boxes and another is fundraising for one. Safe Haven Baby Boxes have nothing to do with the ack of on-the-ground maternity care.


Using the 2017-2021 timeframe we have the following number of newborns reported to have been left in Indiana baby abandonment boxes:

    • 2017: 1
    • 2018: 1
    • 2019: 2
    • 2020: 4
    • 2021: 3 (1 returned to parents)


And after, in a post-Dobbs environment:

    • 2022: 6
    • 2023: 7


I don’t have individual year figures for 2017-2020, but using the number of 342 legitimate neonatal deaths in Indiana in 2021, the decrease in the infant mortality rate– since SHBB insists that every box drop saves a baby’s life, is at tops, 0.88%. Of course, it is unlikely that any of these babies were in actual discard danger. Boxes are used as conveniences or and mothers or fathers uninformed about genuine options and manipulated to the hole-in-the-wall sanctuary of eternal shame.

Imagine how nonsensical Znachko’s argument would sound in Florida or Tennessee where only 1 case each has been reported. Or all those states that have boxes that have never been used. I won’t be surprised, though, if it’s used in 2024 legislative sessions.


The infant mortality rate has indeed decreased in Indiana, but not because of SHBB. Inc. The rate has been reduced through state initiatives for child and mother care.

A 2020 press release from Governor Eric Holcomb’s office (he supports baby boxes) credits the state’s introduction of new or improved programs to serve pregnant people and mothers., including a Levels Care System; allocation of $27 million to community partners for novel and evidence-based programs to improve maternal healthcare; the establishment of a committee to review maternal deaths; establishment of a MOMSs Helpline to assist families for county resources. As usual, though, politicians have balked at funding and improvement is slow.


When will Safe Haven Baby Boxes Inc come up with genuine, irrefutable evidence that their contraptions “save lives?”? Magical thinking, the weird sentimentalizing, valorization yet ultimate portrayal of dangerous Monser Mothers in crisis “pregnancies (“this mother loved her baby so much she didn’t kill it”/” this baby was saved”). The SHBB folks never explain why a parent who loves their child would kill it or from what or who “this baby” was saved. Oh, and here’s the upshot. Less than 100 cases a year of newborn discard are reported in the entire country. The whole bill of goods is hypocritical and laughable.

Is time to cut the bullshit. It’s embarrassing.


Crossposted on Stop Safe Haven Baby Boxes Now! November 2, 2023



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