Evaluation Background: Infant Security Systems

April 17, 2019 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's background for our Evaluations of infant security systems, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for. Also review our latest product ratings and ECRI Institute's data describing hospitals' interest in each vendor.

Infant security systems are designed to prevent infant abductions. They utilize tagged wristbands, ankle bands, or umbilical tags applied to an infant that will sound an alarm if an unauthorized person attempts to remove the infant from a designated area (e.g., maternity unit, nursery, neonatal ICU NICU). Some infant security systems also offer mother-infant matching, which allows caregivers to ensure that infants are placed with the correct parents/guardians at all times, even within the designated care area. To be considered in this clinical category, a system must have at least a set of signaling tags for infants, a receiver system to track egress points, audit logs of authorized and unauthorized egress attempts, and a method of alerting for unauthorized egress.

Infant security systems are overall a mature technology. Recent advances include interfaces to alarm middleware and other alternate alerting technologies. Certain vendors also offer infant security systems based on Wi-Fi.

Major components of a typical system include the following:

  1. Signaling infant tags—These tags are small, lightweight microchips that are attached to bands or clamps; the tags are placed on the infant's wrist, ankle, or umbilical cord.

  2. Receivers and controllers—Positioned at egress locations such as doors, elevators, windows, or stairwells. These devices get information from the tags and transmit it to the infant security system's server and the central monitoring workstation.

  3. System server—Collects information from the tags, receivers, and controllers using Ethernet or wirelessly via Wi-Fi. Data from the system server can be...

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