Safely Surrendered Baby Program

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Safe Surrender BabyThe San Diego County Board of Supervisors has designated all hospital emergency rooms and select fire stations as the appropriate places to surrender infants safely.

On January 1, 2001, California became one of a dozen states to enact a law intended to provide for the health and safety of unwanted newborn children. The "Safe Arms for Newborns" law states that "no parent or other person who has lawful custody of a minor child 72 hours old or younger may be prosecuted for child abandonment if he or she voluntarily surrenders physical custody of the child to a designated employee at a public or private hospital emergency room or other location designated by the county board of supervisors."

Safe Surrender Sites

All fire stations in San Marcos are Safe Surrender sites.

List of hospitals and fire stations in San Diego County that are designated Safe Surrender Sites

How the Law Works

A distressed parent who is unable or unwilling to care for an infant can legally, confidentially and safely surrender her baby within three days of birth. The baby and parent will be given matching bracelets to help connect them in the event that the parent wants the baby back. The law allows another person to bring in the baby if they have lawful custody. A parent can bring in a baby anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The parent is not required to provide any information. However, firefighters will give the parent a medical information questionnaire that is designed to gather family medical history. This is the parent's responsibility to complete and could be very useful in the care of the child.

What Happens to the Baby and Parent

The baby will be examined and given medical treatment, if needed. The baby will then be placed in a foster or pre-adoptive home by the County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). If a parent wants her baby back, she may contact HHS. Under the SSB Law, a parent has at least 14 days to claim his or her infant.

For more information, visit

San Marcos Fire Department
Emergency medical Services Coordinator
1 Civic Center Drive
San Marcos, CA 92069

Jenny Duffy
(760) 744-1050, ext. 3410