Newborn baby handed to L.A. firefighters on Christmas Eve
A six-hour-old baby girl was nicknamed "Noel" by Los Angeles firefighters after she was handed to them by her mother on Christmas Eve.
The baby's mother brought the child to Los Angeles Fire Department Station 46 near the Coliseum about 3 p.m. Friday under a state law that allows new mothers to relinquish babies without facing abandonment charges, according to department spokesman Erik Scott.
The baby and mother were examined at the station and found to be in good health, he said. "The baby did not appear to be abused or neglected," he said, adding that the firefighters "affectionately nicknamed the baby girl Noel."
After wrapping "Noel" in a blanket, the firefighters took her to a local hospital for postnatal care. She is now under the custody of the county's Department of Child Services and will be cared for by a foster parent until she is placed for adoption or returned to a family member. The mother and child were given matching identification bracelets in case the mother changes her mind.
Firefighters, said Scott, often see sadder cases of infants who are neglected or abandoned and left to die. "So they were delighted this had an happy outcome," he said.
California's 10-year-old Safe Surrender law allows a baby to be surrendered to a hospital, designated fire station or other special site within 72 hours of birth. The Christmas Eve surrender was thought to be the sixth in Los Angeles County this year, officials said.
-- Larry Gordon