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Preventing A New Mom's Worst Nightmare

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How you can keep your newborn safe.


Friday, a woman abducted a 1-day-old baby from a hospital by smuggling the infant out in a duffel bag, even though the baby was wearing a device designed to set off an alarm when removed from the maternity unit. Thankfully, the kidnapper was apprehended an hour later and the baby was reunited with the parents.

Here are some safety guidelines from Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene, Texas:

Before baby's birth:
1. Investigate security procedures at the facility where you plan to give birth to your baby.
2. Request a copy of the facility's written guidelines for security procedures in the maternity ward.

After baby's birth:
1. Never leave your infant alone in the room.
2. Place baby's bassinet on the side of your bed that is opposite from the door to allow you to see who is entering the room.
3. Don't give your infant to anyone without properly verified hospital identification. Question unfamiliar persons entering your room or inquiring about your infant—even if they are in hospital attire or seem to have a reason for being there. Alert the nurses' station immediately.
4. Determine where your infant will be when taken for tests, and how long the tests will take. Find out who has authorized the tests. If you are uncomfortable with anyone who requests to take your baby or unable to clarify what testing is being done or why your baby is being taken from your room, it is appropriate to go with your baby to observe the procedure.

After you go home:
1. Consider the risk you may be taking when permitting your infant's birth announcement to be published in the newspaper. Birth announcements should never include the family's home address.
2. The use of outdoor decorations to announce the infant's arrival such as Mylar balloons, large floral wreaths, wooden storks, and other lawn ornaments is not recommended.

If you're already a Mom, were you nervous about infant abduction after you gave birth?

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4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mary Jo April 1, 2008, 8:43 PM

Thank you so much for this advice. This is really scary stuff, but at least we can protect ourselves from possible victimization.

Kim Stadsvold April 2, 2008, 4:20 PM

I actually have been worrying about this a lot considering I will be having my baby in two and half months. Thanks for the tips!

Suzie April 4, 2008, 6:41 AM

When I read this the other day I was thinking about what happened when my son was born last month. I had my daugther at the same hospital 2 1/2 years ago and they put ankle bands on the babies that trip an alarm if they go out of a certain boundry. I was really confident with the hospital security. The second night I was in the hospital, the nurse came and said she was going to take my son for his hearing screening and she would bring him back in a little bit. He’d been gassy and crying for a good 3 hours. It was like 6 in the morning and I was exhausted so I was happy to get some sleep. I woke up at 8 and he still wasn’t back but I was so sleepy I just went back to sleep.

The nurse did bring him back a little later and told me he was really fussy and gassy. After reading what happened the other day, I feel bad for not questioning it when I woke up and saw they had not brought my son back yet. I can’t help but think what if he had been abducted or something…

Pam  April 17, 2008, 9:23 PM

My kids were born 20+ years ago and you never heard much about hospital abductions, but I was and I am still concerned with baby’s safety at home. The yard announcements are cute but very informational to those with loose screws. When my granddaughter was born I was so concerned because the bay window in the living room had wind out side windows at ground level and mom and dad would leave them open at night.(It was late spring into summer) I actually had to show my daughter how someone could remove the the screen and when the window was wound wide open a person could squeeze through, before she would believe it could happen. The window was 5ft high and not at all hard to get through. Just this week while babysitting her, she is 3 now, I was making her bed and opened the blinds to find that her bedroom window was not locked!! It is at ground level too! So, new parents, put this on your “baby safety checklist”. Safety check your windows and if you happen to go outdoors when baby is sleeping, lock all other doors and stay close to the one you used.

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