Infant protection isn’t child’s play; it is serious business and Active RFID solutions can certainly help
Children, especially infants are one of the most vulnerable segments of our society. Every ‘grown up’ issue effects the children directly or indirectly. Child abduction is one the top fall-outs of ‘grown up’ issues, and two of the most prominent reasons for abducting an infant from a hospital are: a) An infant is abducted by a woman in an attempt to maintain/save a relationship with her husband, boyfriend or companion; b) A woman wishes either to replace an infant she has lost or experienced a vicarious birthing of an infant or she is for some reason unable to conceive or carry to term.
The infant abduction number is small as compared to the other crimes but the effects of an abduction are far reaching. Even one abduction will destroy the life of young parents, cause irreparable emotional damage to the family and severely tarnish the brand name of the health care facility. It might take years for a hospital to overcome the damage caused to its reputation with even one abduction.
The US based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® or NCMEC says of 292* child abductions from 1983 to 2014, 132 were from the Healthcare facilities and 58% of those were from mother’s room. 17% each from the nursery or a pediatric area. *This number is only for US and not for Canada or any other country of the world.
Various studies have shown that the abductor may be seen in the hallways for as little as 4 seconds with the infant in her arms, escaping by a fire exit stairwell, and eventually exit. An alert staff member can surely intercept an abductor, raise an alarm and if all goes well the baby will be safe and abductor arrested, but only if they are seen and identified as a threat. Of course, this is not an appropriate infant abduction prevention plan; there are too many risks in this plan, which are a recipe for failure causing a lot of anxiety and damage. What is needed is a comprehensive infant security plan, a part of which includes a ‘lock down’ of the premises each time, and unfailingly when an infant is nearby a door; the doors should shut down and security staff should know the exact location of baby and the perpetrator. Your infant security plan should also be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure it still provides the level of protection intended when it was created.
Adoption of Active RFID technology that helps achieve all of the above can go a long way in enhancing the trust value of a hospital in the minds of patients and raising its brand value. Employing Active RFID & RTLS solutions cannot only prevent abductions; it can also effectively reduce the chances of mother-baby mismatch. Ancillary benefits can be gained by simply introducing inexpensive tags that serve other purposes. Asset tags can be used to enable the ability to track and locate items that are frequently mobile such as breast pumps, IV pumps, and telemetry transmitters. Staff tags with 2 way communications can be used to provide a personal duress alarm and also receive a page or alarm from the system.
GuardRFID’s TotGuard is one such solution that helps to increase security at birthing units, maternity wards and pediatric wards and enables automation of the processes. This solution offers six types of tags for customized and enhanced security for newborns starting with the NICU and nursery, healthy baby and pediatric patients to their teens. Currently over 100 hospitals across North America have chosen TotGuard to protect their newborn and pediatric patients.