A parent may surrender a newborn to any on-duty firefighter or hospital emergency room employee within the City of Merced. A parent who is unable or unwilling to care for a newborn can surrender the infant within 72 hours of birth without fear of being prosecuted, as long as the baby shows no signs of abuse or neglect. The purpose of the law is to provide a safe place for the newborn when a parent feels he or she cannot handle the responsibility.
Surrendering a Baby to a Firefighter
There are two ways this can occur. Either the baby can be handed over to an on-duty firefighter at the fire station, or the parent can call 9-1-1, and a fire engine will be dispatched to their location.
Parents who change their minds can begin the process of reclaiming their infant within 14 days. This law protects the parent(s) from arrest or prosecution as long as the baby has not been abused or neglected. Persons who abandon an infant in any way other than those described above are not covered by this law.
Every baby deserves a chance for a healthy life. If someone you know is considering abandoning a newborn, let them know there are options.