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For Healthcare Professionals: Guidelines on Prevention of and Response to Infant Abductions, Ninth Edition

NCJ Number
John B. Rabun, Jr.
Date Published
January 2009
100 pages
These guidelines are intended to encourage health-care facilities to develop security standards for the protection of infants under their care.
The criteria for these guidelines are that they be reasonable, appropriate, and defensible. Safeguarding newborn infants requires a comprehensive program of health-care policy, procedures, and processes; education of and teamwork by nursing personnel, parents, physicians, security, and risk-management personnel; and coordination of various elements of physical and electronic security. Suspicious behaviors are outlined for individuals who enter or leave the area of the facility housing newborn infants. This is followed by guidelines for health-care professionals who manage and work in the area of the facility that houses newborn infants. The guidelines are categorized according to function. "General" guidelines address responses to suspicious persons, recordkeeping on any encounters with suspicious persons, and notification of law enforcement agencies of all attempted/thwarted abductions. "Proactive" guidelines pertain to prevention measures. Guidelines pertinent to "physical-security safeguards" encompass the installation of alarms, locks, and cameras as well as other controls on access to the infants. Guidelines are also provided for a critical-incident-response plan regarding procedures for responding to an infant abduction. The plan should include conducting an infant-abduction drill at least once a year. This should include the entire facility, not just obstetrics. Although not a part of the guidelines, other topics discussed in this publication are liability issues in the case of an abduction, security after a discharge/transfer from a maternal-child care unit, what parents need to know, and self-assessment for health-care facilities. An 82-item bibliography