Several studies investigating the statistics and style of infant abductions from hospitals reveal some very frightening results. Although rare in comparison to the number of babies born in the US, the impact of just one little baby being abducted from its parents is enough to spark a nation-wide manhunt.
According to statistics, most infants abducted range in age from just a few days old to 3 months. The time of abductions usually occur when most people at home are working, between 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Although anyone can enter into this type of behavior, most infant kidnappers have some unique characteristics. The typical abductor is usually a female of childbearing years (15-48), overweight (making it easier to mimic pregnancy), and emotionally immature with low self-esteem. Many of these individuals have done their research - visiting nurseries or maternity units at several facilities prior to the abduction . Often they will try to become familiar with security procedures.
Most hospitals have sophisticated security systems, but they are not foolproof. Some systems are better than others, but keeping children safe is a mutual responsibility between hospital staff and parents. Hospitals need to have a well rehearsed infant security protocol, involving the entire hospital personnel. The procedures should include what to do when you hear and emergency code, and how to signal the potential incident of a missing baby.
Parents can also do several things to keep children safe:
Do not use outside home decorations to announce the arrival of a new baby into your home (No stork or ribbons in the lawn).
Make sure that all hospital personnel is wearing a hospital picture ID. If you do not see it ask for it.
Never leave the baby unattended. If you need to use the bathroom or take a shower, bring the baby back to the nursery.
When the baby is born make sure that a security device is placed.
If the baby needs to leave out of the obstetrical area for diagnostic test ,ask if you could accompanied the baby or what specific personnel will be bringing the child to those areas.
Become familiar with the nursing staff, food delivery service, residents or students. Everyone needs to identify themselves, have proper ID and should never question the fact that they are being ask to show proper identification.
When in doubt, never hand off your baby until you get all of your answers.
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Dr. Manny Alvarez is the managing editor of health news at FOXNews.com, and is a regular medical contributor on the FOX News Channel. He is chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Additionally, Alvarez is Adjunct Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. Click here for more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center. Visit AskDrManny.com for more.