Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Keeping Your Infant Safe

Since 1989, U.S. hospitals have worked closely with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to implement measures designed to prevent infant abduction, such as the case of Carlina White. Over the last two decades, the number of in-hospital infant abductions has declined due to these preventative efforts.

Sadly, abductors have increasingly targeted homes, shopping centers and other public areas. Between 1983 through 2010, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reports an annual average of 9 to 10 documented infant abductions and that 95% of these abducted infants were located and safely returned to their parents – usually within a few days to two weeks. While this is good news, nonetheless it is important for hospital staff and parents to work together to achieve the goal of making this a never event.

What can parents do to prevent an abduction from occurring? Here are some tips that Sharon M. Rossi, R.N.C., M.S., director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Sinai Hospital, says every parent needs to know and follow. Rossi was on Good Morning Maryland @ 9
on ABC
last week.

In the hospital:
  • Only allow staff wearing a picture hospital ID badge to handle your baby.
  • When resting or sleeping, place the baby bassinet next to your bed on the window side so it is away from the doorway.
  • When you plan to shower or sleep, discuss supervision of your baby with your nurse.
  • Call a nurse at any time if you have questions or feel uncomfortable about the behavior of a staff member.
At home:
  • In public birth announcements, do not include your home address.
  • Do not post information about your infant with pictures on social media walls – only share this with those people you know and trust. Because privacy settings can change with little or no notice, don’t assume that anything you post on social media is private.
  • Avoid using outside decorations (wooden storks, balloons, etc.) to announce the arrival of your newborn.
  • Verify all home visits with the hospital or home health company or local health department agency before setting up any appointment to be seen in your home.
  • Check for visible photo ID before opening your door to any utility worker or general repair person. If unsure, do not open the door and instead verify the employee's identification with the company.
While shopping:
  • Always use an approved car seat that is safely buckled in your shopping cart.
  • Never leave your infant unattended or turn your attention away from your infant.
  • Do not allow a person you do not know to “keep an eye on your infant.”
  • Do not use social media features that tag your location.
  • Once your shopping is done, secure your infant in the car, lock the doors and then load your groceries. Keep the keys with you and do not leave your infant in a car that is running.

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