NCMEC shares tips for infant safety

Published 5:38 pm Friday, March 30, 2007

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has tips for parents to keep their infants safe:

• Don’t be embarrassed about being anxious or watchful over your baby.

• Learn the hospital rules about routine nursery procedures, feeding and visiting hours and security measures.

• Be suspicious of casual acquaintances or strangers that attempt to befriend you. Do not give your baby to anyone without proper verified hospital identification.

• Become familiar with the hospital staff that work in the maternity and nursery unit.

• Be aware of strangers that come to your door to see your baby, even if in hospital garb. Call the nurses’ station immediately.

• Learn when and where your baby will be taken for tests, first baby photos, circumcision and find out how long the tests will take. Find out who authorized the tests.

Hospital staff are trained to know what to watch for in the maternity ward, such as:

• people who frequently visit as ward just to see or hold babies

• people who try to steal hospital uniforms and IDs (staff members are taught to make these difficult for non-hospital staff to get their hands on)

• visitors who ask too many questions about feeding times, the movements of babies between mothers and nursery, emergency exits and such

• people seen carrying babies (mothers are usually in wheelchairs

• people carrying bags large enough to conceal a baby, especially of they appear to be carrying it with extra care

Because the maternity ward at hospitals generally has a high turnover of new patients, visiters change on a daily basis. Nursing staff are instructed on how to keep track of the new faces they come across.

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