The Importance of Infant Abduction Security Audits

Posted by Accutech on January 1, 2023 12:00 am

How often does your facility conduct an audit of your infant security system? Including roundtable discussions about equipment and procedures, many facilities with maternity wards test their systems and staff up to four times per year. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recommends that facilities conduct drills annually. When considering protection against infant abductions, competency validation in modern birthing centers goes beyond electronic systems and makes sure that your entire staff understands what to do if there is an incident and how to respond to the security measures you have in place. Surprise drills and simulated infant abductions demonstrate the ability of your staff and security procedures to prevent an abductor from exiting your facility. Making sure that everyone is properly trained and understands how your infant protection system works is critical. According to the Joint Commission, improper use of infant security systems is a key factor in facilities failing an audit.

A nurse at Montrose Hospital uses the Cuddles infant security system

There are many reasons why hospitals and birthing centers choose to install or upgrade their security systems using Accutech RFID-enabled products: lower total cost of ownership, advanced features, lower rate of false alarms, full compliance, and the most comprehensive customer support program in the industry. A key part of our comprehensive customer support is training. In addition to easy integration with existing systems, Accutech and our network of local dealers are committed to making sure that your staff receives the necessary training and support to ensure that there are no weak links in your security plan.

While all birthing centers are required to have electronic security systems in place to protect the infants in their care, audits to assess the readiness of your facility’s equipment, procedures and staff are an essential part of ensuring this safety over time. With over twenty-five years of experience developing, manufacturing, and installing RFID healthcare related security systems, Accutech Security also offers expertise to hospitals and birthing centers in the form of security consulting/audit services to assess current safety protocols including electronic access control (EAC), closed-circuit television (CCTV), on-site security personnel and established procedures.

About a year after they installed a Cuddles infant protection system (an RFID electronic security system designed specifically to maintain safety of babies in obstetric and pediatric departments), the Family Center at Montrose Memorial Hospital in Colorado conducted an audit of the system. Other than the director and one security officer, no one else on the hospital staff was aware of the event - ensuring an accurate environment for the test. In place of an actual infant an adult female volunteer was fitted with a security band around her wrist, given a large bag and instructed to leave the maternity floor.

As she approached an exit, the Cuddles infant protection system was activated, triggering an alarm and automatically locking the door. Because the Cuddles system identified the exact door where she tried to exit and alerted the staff, there was no confusion or lost time. Security and nursing staff immediately confronted the volunteer who was carrying a large bag that could easily conceal an infant. A hospital-wide “Code Pink” was issued as the volunteer continued into the main hospital area. She was stopped swiftly and repeatedly by both hospital staff and security officers and never made it to the outside entrance. The audit was an immediate success, leading Coral Ann Hackett, the Director of the Family Center, to say “It was perfect. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.”

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s booklet For Healthcare Professionals provides practical guidelines for maximizing the effectiveness of your drills, including:

  • At least once a year, conduct an infant abduction drill that includes the entire facility—not just obstetrics.

  • Before the drill, ensure that those who will observe and access the drill attend a training class that reviews physical security features in place, reviews the critical-incident response plan, and explains the planned scenario of abduction.

  • Choose drill observers from all job levels.

  • Use standardized drill reports.

  • Inform law enforcement personnel that it is a drill only.

  • Start a drill with an alarm sounding or with the exchange of a note within the birthing center explaining that a baby has been abducted.

  • Observers should provide “real-time” instruction during the drill, if needed.

  • At the end of the drill, forward the evaluation form to the Security Director and/or other designees.

  • As part of the evaluation, review step by step to identify areas needing improvement.

  • Prepare a final drill report that explains what worked and what didn’t work and delineates a plan of action for making improvements. Send that report to Administration and the obstetric unit within two weeks of drill completion.

Topics: Cuddles