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BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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Preventing Newborn Abductions at Hospitals


It is one of the most exciting times in a womanís life, preparing to give birth to a child. Whether it is her first born or sixth baby, there is never a time that is more anxiety provoking, exciting, and trying than just before delivery. Infant abductions are high in the USA, with a majority of infants taken from momís hospital room. This means before going to the hospital momís must have a safety plan in place.

So how does a new mother keep her newborn safe while in the hospital? The first choice a mom must make is deciding which hospital she will deliver her baby. Next, schedule a tour of that hospitalís maternity ward, and do not forget to call ahead to schedule a tour. During the tour, parents will be able to get a sense of how secure the unit feels, and this is an opportune time to ask questions, or raise any concerns regarding keeping your newborn safe after delivery.

Although hospital facilities typically have a comprehensive security system throughout the facility, parents will only hear about the ones that they will use during their hospital stay. The current systems used by many hospitals include placing an ankle band equip with an alarm on the babyís ankle immediately after the delivery. The alarm is placed on the babyís ankle before the baby leaves the motherís hospital room. The process should be witnessed by the parent.

The number on the alarm placed on the baby matches the motherís medical record number on her armband. The ankle device cannot be removed except by the nurse that discharges the child during the discharge process. To remove the ankle alarm requires a specific key or electronic device.

So how does the ankle alarm protect the newborn? If anyone takes the baby too close to the elevators, stairs, or an exit door to the maternity ward they will set off a tremendously loud alarm, and the elevators will not open and the doors all lock down automatically.

The most import thing a mother to be can do on admission to the hospital is to evaluate the safety instructions provided to protect keep her and her baby safe. Continue to follow the recommendations until discharged. Never hesitate to ask questions or bring up safety concerns with your nurse or doctor.

Twenty years ago, when my daughter arrived staff would identify themselves to new moms before removing the baby from her room. The staff showed her identification badge and a color-coded wristband, and stating a number to the parent. This process implemented by the hospital to help newborn moms identify the staff authorized to care for the baby.

Every day the color and number changes at midnight. Parents advised by staff regarding how to confirm the color of the new bracelet and the number for that day. Staff empowered new moms on the expectations of the security procedure and what questions to ask before ever releasing their child to anyone.

Parents are instructed never to be intimidated by any staff person with a badge or uniform. Regardless that staff has an identification badge and uniform parents must examine the color-coded wristband and be given the proper number for the day. If the person did not have the appropriate wristband and did not know the number parents were instructed NOT to release their baby to that person. In addition, they were to notify the nurse by pushing the emergency button that alerts employees to call security immediately.

By following the hospital and maternity policies and guidelines provided upon admission and asking questions when necessary mom and baby will be off to an excellent start. Remember no one has the right to remove the baby if you do not feel comfortable with the staffís actions, words, or behaviors. If in doubt, ask the core staff to verify the person is authorized to care for your newborn.
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Content copyright © 2013 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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