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6 Essential Elements of an Effective Infant Protection System

closeup of infant holding an adult's finger

From abduction to mismatches and more, hospitals and healthcare facilities have a lot to cover when it comes to managing risks to infants. A solid infant protection system can help them manage risk and protect their youngest patients. Here are a few essential elements of an effective infant protection system:

1. Accurate Location Information

Hospitals and healthcare facilities are busy places with a lot of people and equipment moving around. One of the most essential elements of an effective infant protection system is accurate location information for infants, whether they are newborns, pediatric patients, or NICU babies at the open-crib stage.

Around 57% of infant abductions from hospitals are infants taken from their mother’s room while around 15% each are taken from pediatric wards, the nursery, or other areas of the hospital. If you are able to accurately determine where infants are at any time, you can do a lot to increase patient safety. Accurate location data allows you to verify that everyone is where they should be at a glance. This also goes a long way in helping to reduce infant abduction.

2. Abduction Attempt Alerts

Despite increased security and technological advances, infant abduction is still a risk to your most vulnerable patients. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children confirmed 329 infant abductions related to healthcare between 1964 and November 2020 in the US. Of these, almost 50% of infants abducted related to healthcare were taken from healthcare facilities.

Although increased security has lowered the risk, infant abduction still affects hospitals of every size and every type all over the world. An infant protection system that provides abduction attempt alerts in real-time and 24/7 can help reduce abduction risk. Should the worst occur and an abduction attempt is made, the immediate alerts and lockdowns of exits can help you identify it and stop it in its tracks.

3. Mother and Infant Matching Technology

One of the risks in the maternity ward is matching the wrong infant and mother together. Things get busy, shifts change, paperwork can be misfiled, etc.; there are a lot of ways a mother-infant mismatch can happen.

Decades ago, about 28,000 babies got mixed up at the hospital every year. Even then, most mistakes were caught and fixed before the baby left the hospital. With advanced technology, the risk of this happening is much, much lower today.

This is why another one of the essential elements of an effective infant protection system is mother and infant matching technology. Accessible, accurate, and easy to use technology can help you prevent a mismatch and provide peace of mind to everyone involved.

Not only can mother and infant matching prevent a mismatch during the many transfers that occur during a hospital stay, but it can also help prevent infant abduction.

STANLEY Healthcare Hugs® & Kisses™ System

The top global infant security system is the STANLEY Healthcare Hugs® & Kisses™ system. More than 1,600 hospitals rely on this system and it protects over 2 million infants every year. These tags are hypoallergenic, are comfortable to wear, can be used for multiple births seamlessly, and are reusable for the facility.

Most importantly, they are given to a mother-infant pair and automatically sync up and match them together. They check for a match when an infant is brought to a mother. If there is a mismatch, an alarm sounds and a notification alert goes out. This automatic and audible matching support brings peace of mind to mothers, families, nurses, ad other medical staff.

4. Tag Tampering Alerts

Any infant protection system using tags should have some sort of alert for when something is wrong with the tag. Whether the tag is malfunctioning or someone is tampering with it, an effective infant protection system will generate an alarm, alert the system, and provide identifying information.

This helps you track down what’s going on, where it’s happening, and which tag is involved. With this information, you can lock down exits, mobilize staff to the location, monitor and track the situation, and more to be able to resolve the situation as quickly and efficiently as possible.

5. Scalability & Flexibility to Meet Your Needs

Any effective infant security system should be flexible and able to scale to fit your facility’s needs. Whether you run a critical access hospital with 20 beds or a large medical center that delivers thousands of births each year, a good infant protection system will be able to work in your facility.

6. Integration With Other Security Systems

A great infant protection system can help you reduce and manage a lot of the risks infants face in hospitals. An even better infant protection system will integrate with other security systems you have in place to help you mitigate and manage situations as they arise.

A solution that integrates with your video surveillance system can help you capture necessary images for identification, crisis response, and more. If it integrates with your access control systems, you could even hold elevators or trigger door locks to prevent a security breach.

These are just a few essential elements of an effective infant protection system. Even if your facility is purely a birthing hospital, you will have other security risks and concerns to deal with outside of infant protection. Contact NEPPS for a site assessment and custom security solution for your hospital or healthcare facility that will cover them all!