The baby boy found abandoned in a stroller Tuesday afternoon in Los Angeles is in good condition, authorities say.
“The newborn was in stable condition and seemed to be doing well,” Armand Montiel, the public affairs director with the Department of Children and Family Services, tells PEOPLE.
The baby, whose umbilical cord was still attached, was discovered in a stroller with a blanket thrown over him near a strip mall and elementary school.
The man who found the boy said he originally spotted the stroller Monday night. The baby, who appeared to be just a day old, was taken to the Dignity Health California Hospital. When he arrived, doctors said he was ill and dehydrated with a low sugar level, NBC reports.
Montiel says the baby is lucky to be alive and that a concerned citizen found him and called the police.
“The real concern was that the child would be taken by strangers for whatever purposes,” he says. “You shudder to think what could have happened if someone had come across the baby and had less than a loving intent.”
Montiel says the number of abandoned babies has decreased in Los Angeles since 2002, when the state enacted the Safely Surrendered Baby Law that allows a parent to give up an infant if the child is no more than three days old and shows no sign of abuse.
“Within 72 hours of birth any mother can bring their newborn to a fire station or hospital emergency room and relinquish their baby and they don’t have to give their name,” he says. “We praise the mothers who have made that heart-wrenching choice.”
In 2001, prior to the law, 14 babies were abandoned, says Montiel. Of those, 11 died. However, last year, nine babies were safely surrendered and there were no reported abandonments. “Fortunately this type of abandonment doesn’t happen with regularity,” he says.
Montiel says the newborn boy will most likely be adopted by a loving Los Angeles family.
“We want the baby from the get-go to have a permanent home,” he says. Currently, there are between 75 to 100 Los Angeles families waiting to adopt a baby from the Department of Children and Family Services.
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