Dumpsters are for garbage, not for babies — and the California cities of Hemet, Fontana and Yucaipa added this decal to remind their citizenry that unwanted babies belong in the arms of firefighters and nurses and not inside the steel walls of a garbage can.

Under the Safe Surrender Law, mothers have 72 hours after birth to hand over an unwanted baby. Mothers must hand-deliver the infants to a firefighter or medical personnel. If they change their mind, they may reclaim their children through child protective services within 14 days. Leaving a baby unattended or surrendering one after 72 hours can be considered criminal child abandonment.

The stickers were designed by Debbie Faris, who operates the Garden of Angels cemetery in Calimesa for abandoned infants from throughout Southern California. Faris said the stickers are meant to be used as a symbol that could be recognized by mothers of any nationality. “Dumpsters are the place where most babies are found,” Faris said. “We hope that in a last resort, someone will look at the sticker and think not to place their baby in there. That’s not what we do with another human being.”

Are these mothers that dump their babies distraught? Or are they just criminal?

If a mother chooses to dump her baby in a trash bin — will a decal prove to change her mind?

Is this a proper civic use of a firefighter’s time as they place decals on 500 dumpsters — or are the decals just semiotic busy work flailing to cover the real problem of the failure of birth control in a free will society?


  1. I would think the stickers would be put out by volunteers for the betterment of society but of course that’s not the scope of the question, I suppose. I can’t imagine the decals will prevent people from dumping babies but they might get people to think about people they know that could very well be baby dumping prone and somehow guide them to give the baby up in a less dumping manner.

  2. I suppose the decals might do some obvious good, Gordon. I agree it is a waste of time to mke the firefighters do the dumpster decal applications.

  3. That could be accomplished in an afternoon by a group of schools. Also, it would be educational. Two birds, right?

  4. I agree, Gordon! They should also add a third bird — video surveillance of all the dumpsters. Why not catch the criminal mother in the act of trashing?

  5. Of course once that would happen, it would be right for a panopticonic article! 🙂

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