Nebraska law draws more than babies

10.24.08 Officials say drop-off legislation misinterpreted so it needs to change


Shocked by the abandonment of several teens and two out-of-state children at Nebraska hospitals, the state's governor and lawmakers struck a deal this week to rewrite its safe haven law so it applies only to infants up to 3 days old, the Associated Press reports.

The safe haven law was designed to let parents leave their infants at hospitals with no chance of prosecution in an effort to prevent babies from being dumped in dangerous places by moms who don't want them. But a loophole has attracted parents from across the U.S. who can't handle their teenagers.

The age cap would change Nebraska's safe haven law from the most lenient in the U.S. to one of the most restrictive. Sixteen other states have a 3-day-old age cap. At least 18 children, ages 22 months to 17 years, have been abandoned in Nebraska since the law took effect in July—pushing the state into the national spotlight. Nebraska was the last of the 50 states to enact a safe haven law.

September is National Baby Safety Month, marking its 25th anniversary last month. Brush up on your safety tips and take a scroll through our Baby Safety Month list of features.

Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.