A 2008 report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police warned that although they are rare, hospitals and maternity wards must remain on “high alert” against the threat of infant abductions. A similar report in the United States by the Federal Bureau of Investigation found that 68.1% of infant abductions occur in hospital, whether in the nursery or the mother’s room.
On Monday May 26th, a one day old, six pound baby girl was abducted from a maternity ward in Trois-Rivières - a city in Canada located approximately halfway between Montreal and Quebec City. As is typical in infant abduction attempts from a hospital, the abductor wore nurse’s scrubs, walked into the maternity ward and left 12 minutes later with the baby. Investigators say the female abductor was dressed as a nurse when she entered the Ville Marie hospital at 6:56 p.m. She took the baby girl out of the mother’s room “under false pretences”, bundled her up and exited the hospital at 7:08pm where she fled in a red Toyota. Police issued an amber alert and baby Victoria was found shortly after 10 p.m., unharmed, at the suspect's home in Trois-Rivières.
Following a series of similar abductions in the 1990s and 2000s, most Canadian hospitals instituted security measures and training workshops to prevent the unauthorized removal of babies from maternity wards. In light of the security breach in Trois-Rivières, Quebec Health Minister Gaétan Barrette has ordered all hospitals with maternity wards to review their protocols regarding infant protection. He also announced that the government would consider requiring that all newborns wear electronic bracelets that sound an alarm if the baby is moved out of a permitted zone - as is currently the practice in hospitals in Ontario.
An RFID-enabled infant protection system like Cuddles from Accutech has different hardware components that combine to create an alert when an infant wearing a bracelet enters into a protected area or beyond an unauthorized exit. Our unique soft bracelet has an RFID tag attached to it. The tag transmits a signal at a specific radio frequency that can be identified by a controller (receiver) placed near a point of egress. If an alarm is tripped, alerts can be sounded at the point of egress as well as communicated through existing pagers, two-way radios and centralized command panels.