With high-profile infant abductions on everyone's mind, hospitals are increasingly focusing on security for newborns. Since 1983, more than 250 infants have been abducted, a small number relative to the number of births during that period but enough to raise the terrifying specter of infant loss. To respond, hospitals have tightened up their processes for managing newborns on site. At Intermountain Healthcare hospitals, for example, infant protection begins before birth, with mothers being drilled on hospital security measures. They also have instituted rules mandating a special method of carrying babies. Virtually all hospitals now have a system in place where mother and baby wear matching bands, and hospital staffers are instructed not to pass along a baby unless they check both bands. Hospitals in Utah do "baby abduction drills" to practice for a time when a newborn is stolen. And nursery window blinds--formerly open for all to look at and enjoy newborns--are now typically closed. While they may be necessary, it's a shame newborns and mothers have to face these drills, particularly given the statistically miniscule number of abduction incidents. But it's not surprising that hospitals are taking a "better safe than sorry" approach.
For more background on newborn security:
- read this article in the Daily Herald