Safe Arms for Newborns

NEWS // November 14, 2017

Safe Arms for Newborns

Don't abondon your baby. There is an option. No Shame. No Blame. No Names.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors has designated all Hospital Emergency Rooms and certain Fire Stations as the appropriate place to surrender infants safely.

On January 1, 2001, California became one of a dozen states to enact a new law that is intended to provide for the health and safety of unwanted newborn children. The Safe Arms for Newborns law states that parents or legal custodians will not be prosecuted for child abandonment if they bring a newborn 72 hours or younger to a designated Safe Surrender location.  

Since 2001, San Diego County hospitals have been designated as Safely Surrender sites as the location where newborns can safely be surrendered to care without prosecution of the parent. As of May 2, 2008 most County fire stations serve that purpose as well.

The law's intent is to save lives of newborn infants at risk of abandonment by encouraging parents or persons with lawful custody to safely surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth, with no questions asked.

From January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2015, 770 newborns have been surrendered in California, and 84 newborns were surrendered during the 2015 calendar year. This is compared with 169 infants abandoned since 2001, five of which occurred in the 2015 calendar year. Available data indicates a generally decreasing trend of abandonments since enactment of the SSB Law, from 25 cases in 2002 to five or less cases per year since 2010, representing a decrease of at least 80%.  

For more information visit the related links:

Safe Arms for Newborns


Safely Surrender Baby Law:

Safely Surrendered Baby:

Safely Surrender Baby Sites:

Safely Surrendered Baby Program:

2-1-1 San Diego: