preventing abduction

  1. was curious about what different hospitals do in regards to preventing abduction (this stemmed from another thread where abduction was mentioned).

    for us, we have a security system. the baby has a security tag on, and if it gets cut or taken off, the alarms will go off. or if the baby even gets to close to the door of the unit, the alarms go off.

    i guess i assumed that most hospitals did this type of thing, but i'm finding maybe not.

    what is done at your hospital?
  2. Visit midwifemamma profile page

    About midwifemamma

    Joined: Mar '06; Posts: 26
    RN, Student midwife
    Specialty: Obgyn

    11 Comments

  3. by   Gompers
    Quote from midwifemamma
    was curious about what different hospitals do in regards to preventing abduction (this stemmed from another thread where abduction was mentioned).

    for us, we have a security system. the baby has a security tag on, and if it gets cut or taken off, the alarms will go off. or if the baby even gets to close to the door of the unit, the alarms go off.

    i guess i assumed that most hospitals did this type of thing, but i'm finding maybe not.

    what is done at your hospital?

    For babies who are in post-partum or newborn nursery, they have an ankle tag on that will alarm if they leave the unit. We cannot use these in the NICU because most of the babies are either too small or sick to have one more thing attached to them. Any unit where children are present - OB, nursery, peds, PICU, and NICU - has locked doors with security alarms on them - if you don't get buzzed in or out, the alarms go off and security is on their way plus we do a patient head-count to make sure everyone is accounted for.

    However, there have been abduction cases in the past across the country where even with security anklets and locked units, babies get taken. That's why we can never be too careful and why many hospitals do not allow babies to be in the mother's room when she is alone and sleeping or in the shower, etc. I even feel uncomfortable with the baby in the room as both parents are sleeping since, even with two people there, they aren't conscious and are probably so exhausted they could sleep through someone entering their room and walking off with their baby.

    When I have my baby, I plan to have it taken to the nursery when I want to sleep and brought to me when it's time for a feeding. I would never be able to fall asleep otherwise...

    One thing I think would be a spectacular idea: putting locks on the post-partum room doors. Just like the locked doors leading to the nursery or NICU - where staff members swipe their ID badges to get into the door. So if the door to mom's room is closed, the only way to get in is for her to get up and open the door or to have a nurse swipe to unlock if from the outside. I know it'd be a hassle to have to let in visitors and such, but it would help security-wise in hospitals where there is no longer a well-baby nursery for babies to hang out while their moms aren't able to watch them.
    Last edit by Gompers on Oct 24, '06
  4. by   MemphisOBRNC
    We also have securtiy tags on the baby's ankle but found the alarm does not sound if the tag slips off, only if it is cut. We, too, have a locked unit but have gotten very to where when the bell rings, we open the door. We also have to "buzz" them out.

    For those with locked units, how do you determine who comes in? Do you ask who they are there to see and verify with the mother before letting them in? Have a sign-in system? Is there a designated person on your unit that operates the door? 24/7?
  5. by   Gompers
    Quote from MemphisOBRNC
    For those with locked units, how do you determine who comes in? Do you ask who they are there to see and verify with the mother before letting them in? Have a sign-in system? Is there a designated person on your unit that operates the door? 24/7?
    Employees have to show their ID badges. Each baby gets 2 parent bands - for either mom and dad, or for mom and whoever she chooses to be her support person in case dad isn't involved. If they have these bands, they are admitted. If not, they have to show picture ID and it needs to match one of the names on the baby's visitor list. Most babies don't have lists of who can visit though - we encourage the parents to ONLY allow visitors to come with them so there aren't tons of people with priviledges. This prevents us from having a lot of "strangers" in the unit - plus we tell the parents that if others are visiting without them, they might find out something about the baby BEFORE the parents do simply because they were there. So for the most part, the only people on these lists are usually grandparents.

    They have to pass the front desk to get in the door, and they get a temporary badge saying what bedside they're going to. They sign in and out, and the secretary buzzes the door for them.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    We do it like Gompers' places does.

    I also tell parents they are also responsible for preventing abduction by:

    never leaving baby alone for a second
    calling for assistance/to watch baby as needed
    keeping an eye out for suspicious activity/characters
    never letting anyone w/o a PINK ID badge/ with visible picture of staff member, ever remove baby from sight for any reason

    They are partners in preventing infant abduction---and I let them know their responsibility at admission.
  7. by   Gompers
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    never letting anyone w/o a PINK ID badge/ with visible picture of staff member, ever remove baby from sight for any reason
    Forgot about that! We have pink ID badges too! Pepto-bismol, pink, to be exact. All RNs who work in NICU, OB, and pediatrics wear pink - NO ONE ELSE.
  8. by   HappyNurse2005
    WE have the ankle bands with the security tag on it. If the baby is taken too close to an elevator or stairwell, the alarms ring and the doors lock/elevators stop.

    we also have the matching baby bracelets for mom/dad/baby

    all womens and peds staff (l&d, m/b, peds, nicu, picu) have a special blue stripe at teh bottom of their photo id name badge that says "womens and peds services" and the families are told to look for that

    when in the hall with infants, they must be in their bassinet on the rolly cart thing. they are loud and rickety sounding, so if you wanted to abduct a baby, you wouldn't want to go in that. too noticeable. Since this is the rule, anyone seen carrying a baby in their arms in the hall is stopped.

    we also have a code to be called over the intercom, much like the whole "code blue", but for newborn abductions "code lindbergh". of course, i think thats awful clever, since ya know, lindbergh has his child abducted.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    We call "code pink" like most places. Every place I have worked and visited called it a code pink.

    We just had a mock code pink not too long ago, and it went very well. Everyone knew his/her part to play, which is a good thing.

    We just can't be too careful as visitors are largely uncontrolled and you never know who may show up and what they are up to. I know this VERY well.....

    Want to hear a very sobering story and admission my part? You see, I learned a hard lesson regarding abduction in my first year out of school, one I that makes me shake just thinking about it:

    This was some years ago, my first job like I said, and we did not have fancy HUGS systems or locked doors during the day shift hours. Well, I had left a baby at the front desk (for "just a second") to silence a beeping monitor in the room right across from the nurses' station. Now I THOUGHT I could keep an eye and do this one thing that would only take "a second"---I mean you could SEE the station from this patient's room clearly. Well in that "second", the baby disappeared from the bassinet. I was literally faint and sick to my stomach when I got back to the desk to see that empty bassinet.

    I was freaking out, my coworkers,were too, as we went searching for that baby, and I had picked up the phone to call the code pink when.....

    My manager told me to put down the phone now, with a stern face and voice. I went, knowing she was gonna ream me, and I deserved to be.

    Well, there, in her office in another bassinet, was that "missing baby".....I nearly crumpled to the floor with relief. And shame.

    Lesson learned. She did not have to lecture me at all. All she had to do was "disappear" that baby for me. I was in tears and I could not apologize enough after that. She told me " I knew you would learn your lesson better this way than if I yelled at you". DARN STRAIGHT. I have never made that mistake again. She was an excellent manager; I miss working for her all the time.

    To Nancy I say: THANK YOU-----you taught me an invaluable and indelible lesson with that one smart act on your part!

    Anyhow sorry for the hijack.
  10. by   MemphisOBRNC
    NICU visitors are much more easliy controlled in our unit. How do you control the visitors to the mothers in and after labor? Do you screen them before letting them enter? What do you ask? Do you verify with the mother? Do you keep a list? Does a specific person i.e. Unit Secretary manage the door? etc.
  11. by   HappyNurse2005
    How do you control the visitors to the mothers in and after labor? Do you screen them before letting them enter? What do you ask? Do you verify with the mother? Do you keep a list? Does a specific person i.e. Unit Secretary manage the door? etc.
    Right now, in my L & D, we don't. No screening. Though, we are having a brand new unit being built and I hear rumblings that it will be a locked unit much like NICU
  12. by   MS._Jen_RN
    I don't work with the "lil' squishys", but in our facility a "code pink" (we have a HUGS system that automatically triggers it) goes overhead and every staff member on every unit responds to block every stairwell door, elevator door, exit door in the house. We can't leave the posts until security clears the code and it is announced overhead.
    ~Jen
  13. by   flytern
    Mid-size hospital, we have the HUGS tags on the babies, works fine some days, when they aren't buzzing "Low battery" or "Supervision timeout" or haven't been applied tightly enough and fall completely off kid (but doesn't sound alarm because it's still intact). We do have to chart that tags are in place every 2 hours. Mom/dad/baby are all tagged together after birth.

    Our unit is locked, have to be let in by secretary. If you're labor support you have a white band on, which is cut off about 1/2hr after delivery, and you become a visitor again. Dad has 24/7 assess. During labor only 3 support people are allowed in rooms. After delivery, hours are 12noon to 8pm (w/3 visitors at a time) Needless to say with 30 rooms that can be alot of traffic. Every person on our floor & NICU wears a pink/blue badge, and we have a special uniform that no one else in the hospital wears. We tell the patients this when we orientate them to their rooms at admission.
    (Unfortunately, the secretary looks like the tech, looks like the housekeeper, looks like the RN...)

Must Read Topics


close