3 out of 3 for baby saver

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Sunette Lighthelm of GB Med Rescue with Baby Nathan, the third infant to benefit from the Helderberg Baby Saver in the past three months.
Sunette Lighthelm of GB Med Rescue with Baby Nathan, the third infant to benefit from the Helderberg Baby Saver in the past three months.

Another baby was safely relinquished through the Helderberg Baby Saver last week.

The infant is the ninth baby to benefit from the Somerset West facility since its inception eight years ago. The latest arrival is also the third to be given a chance at life via the baby saver in the last three months.

Founder Sandy Immelman said the baby boy was found warmly dressed and wrapped in a blanket. She shared the Helderberg Baby Saver team fittingly named him Nathan, of Hebrew origin, which means “given”.

The baby saver is a special safe built into the side wall of Choices Crisis Pregnancy Centre in Schapenberg Road and acts as a last port of call for help and hope, enabling safe abandonment of an unwanted baby. When an infant like Baby Nathan is placed in the safe, an alarm is triggered and appointed respondents, including security officers and emergency personnel, collect the infant. The response is linked to child protection organisation Wandisa, which sees to the statutory processes.

The saver was launched in August 2014 and used for the first time in October 2015, when Baby Ayabonga was placed in the special safe (“Baby named,” DistrictMail, 15 October 2015). The heart-warming success story was followed by another relinquishment in 2017 (“Newborn gets a chance at life,” 9 November 2017), two in 2018 (“Baby saver works again,” 26 April; “Fourth newborn benefits from ‘saver’, 4 October), one in 2019 (“Another cherub placed in ‘saver’, 11 July) and one last year.

Three babies have been placed in the safe this year: Baby Ava (“Yet another baby saved,” 10 March), Baby Ruby (“Baba Ruby vorder goed,” 21 April) and now Baby Nathan.

In the latest incident the alarm was triggered after the little boy was placed into the saver, calling to action armed response officers of Secure Rite Security, who monitor the facility at no cost.

In turn they dispatched safety officers – called the appointed Helderberg Baby Saver responders – and alerted GB Med Rescue paramedics – as is protocol. Three responders were on the scene within minutes, and an ambulance arrived shortly afterwards to check the baby and transport him to Helderberg Hospital for medical observation and clearance.

“We believe a child’s right to life needs to be protected, and a baby saver does not encourage abandonment but rather offers an option of safe relinquish-ment,” said Immelman, who campaigns for the legalisation of baby savers in South Africa.

“We are grateful Baby Nathan is safe and thankful to all who made this possible.”

V For more information, visit www.babysaverssa.co.za.

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