Infant security

  1. Okay, I work a PP/GYN floor 7P-7A. We have "visiting hours". They are not posted, but we inform the parents and patients what they are when they are admitted. Visiting hours are over for the general public at 8 p.m. What a joke! Some exceptions are made for the "Just delivered". But we get people coming in to our floor at 9, 10, and 11 p.m.

    Last night, a young girl came to the nurses station and asked if she could give a gift to her cousin. She was carrying an infant. I thought she was a patient on our floor and that she wanted to visit her cousin. I informed her that she was not allowed to carry her newborn infant in her arms in the hall. She informed me that this was her baby. The CNA said she was a visitor.

    We have a policy on infant abduction. This is not a locked unit. We don't know who is running around on our floor. There are many exits on our floor. Many times, we only have two nurses working our floor.

    This incident got me to thinking. It would be very easy for someone to snatch an infant here! I brought it to my manager's attention this morning. She said that it would be impossible to have a guard at every exit. I told her that I didn't expect that. I was merely pointing out that this could be a real possibility. I also told her that at another hospital where I work (not nursing), the visitors have to sign in at the nurses station of who they are and who they are seeing before they are admitted to the floor. She said the nurses would not put up with doing that here. Well, I know that too! My point was......

    We are not a mother/baby unit (although I think we should be). Nursery brings babies out to moms and leave them there until 11 pm when they are supposed to be taken back to nursery by the moms. Then they can come back out to moms until 7 a.m. It is almost impossible to keep track of who has their babies through the night.

    Am I being paranoid? Am I looking for trouble?

    Our policy states what to do "after" an infant abduction. My point is....PREVENT IT FROM HAPPENING IN THE FIRST PLACE!
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  3. by   palesarah
    wow... I would be really concerned working in that sort of environment. I'm a new grad orienting to an LDRP floor in a somewhat rural part of the country. Infant-snatching has never been an issue around here, I think there was one a couple hours north a few years back? But just because it hasn't happened does n't mean it won't- so infant security is HUGE at my facility.

    My unit is a locked unit with 1 entrance/exit; visitors and non-birth center hospital staff have to check in at the desk and be let in/out. Babies wear two ID bracelets with the same ID number; Mom and father/partner each get an identical bracelet. Babies are only transported in hospital basinetts (if they go to the nursery at all; rooming in is encouraged) and only mom/dad/Birth Center staff (we wear specially marked badges) can transport babies- ID bands are checked when baby is returned to mom or dad. Babies are only dressed in hospital clothes while in the hospital. Parents are counseled to the security policy prenatally and again on admission or after birth; they have to sign a copy of the policy.
    The facility I did my OB rotation on in school was not a locked unit; security procedures were pretty much the same (badges, transporting, hospital clothes only) but in addition to the ID numbers, babies also got a anklet that would sound an alarm if baby went beyond the boundaries of the floor. That was a PP/GYN floor such as yours, though babies roomed in instead of being brought to the nursery.
    I suppose having the babies in the nursery (as sad as that is) does provide a measure of security at night, but sounds like your unit really is a sitting duck. I wish I had some suggestions for you, but I'm a new nurse- I haven't learned how to rock the boat... yet.

    I definetly don't think you are being paranoid or looking for trouble. How do the other nurses on your floor feel about it?
  4. by   homesick honey
    here in England we are very concerned about the possiblity of babies being taken. we operate a rooming in policy which means that we dont have a nursey and the baby stays with the mom. this is to promote bonding and improve breastfeeding rates by doscouraging the use of formula feeds.
    we tag all our babys 3 times. 2 with mothers details and the third has an electronic tag which sets an alarm off if the baby is taken past a certain point.
    it gives the mothers agood sense of security to know this. it could still happen that a baby would be taken but i think there is less chance as the mother is with her baby most of the time. 1 mother with (usually ) 1 baby rather than 1 nurse with 28 babies.
    keep speaknig out. at least if something does happen they can't say they didn't know about it.
    good luck!!
  5. by   dawngloves
    We have sensor tabs on our babies umbilical cords, if it falls off it goes on the leg. The doors lock if you get to close to them with a baby.
  6. by   nialloh
    In our hospital, the visitor is buzzed in. All entry points are on
    camera and ARE recorded.The babes have an ankle tag that locks exit doors that even staff can't open (unless the fire alarm is active). If the door is open when a baby is walked near, an alarm will sound (in security as well as on the floor), as it will if the tag is removed without the proper equipment.
    We have never lost a child, but have stopped someone trying to get up. She got away, but after a county wide alert was put out, she was caught at another hospital trying the same thing.
    Security works
  7. by   colleen10
    Hi there,

    I'm a beginning nursing student and I don't have any children of my own yet, so I can't speak from experience or offer much advice. I did want to say that in this day and age I can't believe there are still hospitals out there that don't have a plan to secure infants. Your ward could be an abduction waiting to happen.

    Anymore you don't just have to worry about strangers coming off the street and nabbing a baby but also fathers/partners/ and family members that seek custody of a child.

    Many of my friends and relatives that have recently had babies were in facilities where I know they at least had "alarm bracelets" on the infants that would sound an alarm if the child was taken beyond the floor perimiter.

    Your concerns are definately valid and I hope you can get through to your management.

    Good Luck,

  8. by   rarry
    Yeah.In China we also have a strict policy which formulates visiting time each day.We have some special rooms for mothers and newborn babies.There baby stay with mother for whole days except bath hours
  9. by   purplemania
    We have sensors on the babies from the nursery. They are expensive, but how valuable is a baby???? Our nursery workers "check out" a baby on a greaseboard when the baby is out of the nursery. Everyone can see where the baby is supposed to be. Babies should not be visiting a hospital anyway but some people are too stupid to know that. I agree, visitors babies should be subject to search for the ID bracelet, or at the very least stop them until you can discern if all newborns are accounted for. As for the nurses, do they want to be responsible for an abduction?
  10. by   tamrnmomof4
    I know in our facility we have a very strict lock down unit, we have a guard at the desk who asigns passes to visitors, each room has a set number of passes with the room number on the pass. Other staff members including nurses who do not work on our unit must also get a pass, this is because a nurse intern was caught in several of our patients rooms, the patient thought she was supposed to be there, the nurse asigned to the patients thought she was a family member or friend of the patient, it was not until the same nurse found her in several different rooms that she was found out. It was very frightening, come to find out she had just suffered a miscarriage and had some mental problems. I would be very scared to work in such an open unit