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Recommendations Relating to Missing Infants

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The following recommendations were developed in accordance with Texas Health and Safety Code, §241. 026.3. These recommendations are intended solely to provide general, summary information and are not intended as legal or security advise applicable to specific matters.

(a) Prevention of infant abduction. In order to reduce the likelihood of infant abductions, a hospital shall consider implementing the following recommendations.

(1) Written prevention plan. Consider the development of a written proactive prevention plan which includes:

(A) a multi-disciplinary team approach
(B) education of hospital staff members to include information such as

(i) offender profiles
(ii) prevention procedures

(C) as assessment of the facility on a periodic basis
(D) consideration of the hospital's size, location, physical layout, and number of births
(E) color photo identification badges for all hospital personnel
(F) education of parents
(G) establishment of an access control policy.

(2) Physical security system. Consider the following installations and other security measures:

(A) install alarms
(B) equip nursery doors with self-closing hardware
(C) keep nursery doors locked at all times
(D) install an electronic asset surveillance detection system
(E) install a security camera system.

(3) Infant identification. Consider the development of an infant identification system which may include the following procedures.

(A) Immediately after birth of the infant, attach identically numbered identification bands to the infant, mother and father or mother's significant other, when appropriate
(B) Prior to the removal of an infant from the birthing room, hospital staff should:

(i) ensure the infant is footprinted
(ii) take a color photograph of the infant
(iii) perform and record a full physical assessment of the infant.

(4) Other preventive measures. Consider the implementation of other preventive measures which may include but not be limited to the following:

(A) Transport the infant only by authorized staff members
(B) Never leave an infant without direct supervision
(C) Transport infants to mother's room, nursery and other locations, one at a time
(D) Always transport an infant in a bassinet
(E) Secure patient charts, patient index cards, and any other medical information to pervent observation by anyone other than medical personnel.

(b) Incident response plan. Consider the development of a written critical incident response plan in the event of an infant abduction. Include instructions for the immediate notification of at least the following:

(1) hospital security personnel
(2) law enforcement agencies
(3) the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678.

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This information is excerpted and adaped from For Healthcare Professionals: Guidelines on Prevention of and Response to Infant Abductions and is reprinted with permission of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). Copyright NCMEC 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2005. All rights reserved.

To receive free technical assistance and a complimentary copy of For Healthcare Professionals: Guidelines on Prevention of and Response to Infant Abductions, you may call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678.

Issued by:

Facility Licensing Group
Department of State Health Services
February 1998

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Last updated May 09, 2013