SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Startling numbers Tuesday night on just how many infants are abandoned every year in the United States. This is while the local community is still reeling from a baby being found on the front step in Springfield.

This report also shows how Safe Haven Laws are meant to help prevent these incidents from becoming deadly. “We want to make sure mom is safe, and most importantly the infant is safe as well and gets them the care that they both need,” said Captain Drew Piemonte of Springfield Fire Department.

Infants are illegally abandoned in the U.S. every year. Most recently, a newborn was left on the doorstep of a Springfield home and believed to be outside for almost 48 hours. Police still searching for his mother.

According to the national safe haven alliance here in the US in 2021, 31 babies were abandoned here in the US at dangerous locations, including dumpsters. Just over 20 of those infants were found dead, but 73 infants were saved by Safe Haven laws in 2021, according to data from the National Safe Haven Alliance. Those laws are found in all 50 states.

Here In Massachusetts, the Safe Haven Act allows a parent to legally surrender newborn infants 7 days old or younger at a hospital, police station, or manned fire station without facing criminal prosecution.

“First of all, just thank the parent for bringing the baby to a safe place,” adds Captain Piemonte. “The preferred place for that would be the hospital, to get them in an acute care facility as soon as possible.”

Under the act, the baby should be given to someone at a designated facility, who is able to ensure that the newborn infant is safe and gets the immediate care that it needs. The Massachusetts Department of Children & Families will take immediate custody of the baby once they are notified.

“We are not here to judge anybody, if you are knocking on our door to surrender a young infant then we are here to help, we are not here to judge at all,” expressed Captain Piemonte.

Since 1999, just over 4,500 babies were voluntarily given up at Safe Haven locations here in the US.