Several months ago we wrote a blog highlighting the devastating case of a woman who kidnapped a newborn from a Florida medical center and raised her as her own child for 19 years. She dressed in scrubs to disguise herself as a nurse, took the baby from the mother’s room just 8 hours after its birth, put the baby in a bag and fled.
In June she was sentenced to 18 years in prison for her crime after an emotional hearing. The kidnapped girl, now 19, asked for leniency for the only mother she has known. Meanwhile, the biological mother, who never stopped thinking about her baby or celebrating her birthday, said the abductor deserved a death sentence after the horrific ordeal she and her entire family had experienced for years.
The need for increased security
This story is a sad reminder that newborns are extremely vulnerable while in the hospital following their birth, and it takes only seconds for someone to abduct a baby. 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, as was the case with this incident.
While every health care facility and maternity ward has security measures in place, they can still fall short due to human error, unforeseeable circumstances or technical malfunctions. That’s why it is essential that birthing facilities maximize their security with the addition of a reliable, technology-based infant protection system.
The best systems add important layers of security to fill the gaps mentioned above, maintaining infant safety even in the event of forgetful staff or power outages.
What to look for in an infant protection system
Unfortunately, not just any infant protection system will do the job, as many on the market have flaws or shortcomings that can leave the maternity ward vulnerable. Consider the following features when shopping for an infant protection system for your facility:
- 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 your facility
- Few false alarms to prevent alarm fatigue
For more information and advice about what to look for in a reliable, top-of-the-line infant protection system, take a look at this guide.