The maternity ward in a hospital is a place full of joy and love, where parents spend their first moments and days with their newborn. Unfortunately, hospitals must also be aware of potential danger lurking. Newborn babies are susceptible to kidnapping, especially if the facility doesn’t have the proper precautions in place.
In the news just this month was a story of a mother who kidnapped an infant from a Florida medical center, and raised the girl as her own for 18 years. She plead guilty to felony kidnapping and custodial interference, and faces up to 22 years in prison.
The need for infant protection
Though infant kidnappings are not a regular occurence, they still happen and must be prevented. In the past 50 years, there have been at least 140 infant kidnappings from health care facilities, with over 58% occuring right in the mother’s room.
Plus, kidnappers tend to blend in, impersonating nursing staff, the relative of a newborn, a social worker and more. Babies have no way to fight back or alert family or staff that an abduction is occuring, making it one of the most vulnerable areas of your health care facility. For these reasons (and more), an effective, reliable infant protection system is essential for any obstetric or pediatric environment.
Finding an effective infant protection system
Most healthcare facilities have security protections and processes, such as monitored access to the ward, sign-in sheets, nursing protocols and more. While these security measures are appropriate, they often aren’t enough to fully protect vulnerable newborns.
In addition, safety protocols can be taxing for nurses and other staff, taking their time away from patient care. Plus, humans do occasionally make mistakes or forget processes—even with the best of intentions—so putting that protection responsibility largely on staff can be risky.
That’s why it’s critical for healthcare facilities to add a technology-based infant protection system. There are several infant protection systems available, so it’s important to understand the key features of an effective and reliable solution.
- Secure, tamper-proof and comfortable bracelets for infants that will set off an alarm upon removal
- Matching mother and baby tags to remove confusion
- Technology that integrates with your existing systems (nurse call, electronic access control (EAC) and other existing security mechanisms)
- Reliability to stay working even if the computer or WIFI are down
- Comprehensive 24/7/365 support local to the facility
Discover more features look for in an infant protection system in this guide.