Attempted Abduction Sheds Light On Facility Security

Posted by Accutech on September 14, 2012 8:42 pm

The August abduction attempt of an infant in Pittsburgh was thankfully not succcessful and three-day old Bryce Coleman was recovered unharmed within hours and returned to his mother.

Parents working with hospital staff can prevent abductions together.

The kidnapper had purchased nursing scrubs with the hospital’s name on them in the days before the abduction and was wearing them when she entered the maternity ward.

The hospital, Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, had infant abduction protocol in place, including a security bracelet on little Bryce’s leg but it had been removed in the mother’s presence just minutes before he was abducted.

The National Center For Missing and Exploited Children has recommendations for new parents while they are in the hospital. Parents in partnership with hospital staff will create a formidable obstacle to anyone hoping to walk in and walk out with an infant.

  • Talk with your nursing staff and inquire about the facility’s infant security protocols.
  • ALWAYS ask staff for identification and ask why and where they are taking your baby. Be sure to look carefully at the staff member’s badge. Most facilities have specific badges for staff members on the Maternal Child Health Unit. If you do not feel comfortable with the identification or the staff member attempting to pick up your baby, call the nursing staff immediately. Be aware that just because someone is wearing scrubs does not mean that they work at the facility or have the authority to transport your baby. These days, hospital scrubs can be bought at Wal-Mart.
  • If your baby is taken for tests, exams, photographs, etc, ask the staff member how long this procedure will take.
  • You and your baby will have ID bands with matching numbers. Be sure the staff is verifying this number with you every time your baby is brought back to your room. Do not take this band off or share your ID band number with anyone. If you lose your ID band, be sure to notify the staff right away.
  • Many facilities will put an infant security alarm on your child. Do not remove this alarm. If it loosens, notify your nursing staff. The band used by Accutech's Cuddles system is specially designed not to become loose due to postpartum weight loss.  It's also important to note that removal of the band in the August incident triggered an alarm but it was ignored as alarm fatigue was common on the ward.
  • NEVER leave your baby unattended or alone for any reason. When you need to use the restroom or shower, bring your baby (in the crib) into the bathroom with you so that you can hear and see your baby at all times. Otherwise, call your nursing staff to watch your baby.
  • Keep your baby the furthest point away from the doorway and close to your bed.

Being vigilant doesn’t have to interfere with the joy of becoming new parents. Working together with hospital staff is the best way to protect your newborn from an abduction attempt. It’s an unfortunate element of our society and it’s sad that this is what we’ve come to. However, the number of infant abductions in hospitals is decreasing as more and more facilities implement security measures that discourage abductors. So keep a wary eye but never lose focus on the miracle you hold in your hands.

Topics: Cuddles, News