Preventing and Responding to Infant Abductions

July 7, 2017 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance


According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), there were 133 abductions of infants from healthcare facilities between January 1983 and April 2017. Anecdotal evidence indicates that many more abduction attempts may be thwarted. Even one abduction is too many, and any facility that offers obstetric services must have policies in place to prevent and, in the worst case, respond to an infant abduction. Risk managers should use this self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) in conjunction with security personnel and nurse-managers in obstetric units, neonatal intensive care units, and nurseries to evaluate their hospital's policies and procedures regarding infant abduction, measures to control access to the facility, and education programs for staff and parents (which for the purposes of this SAQ also include significant others). This SAQ should be completed at least annually. Although the SAQ was designed primarily for maternal-child units, many of the questions also apply to neonatal intensive care and pediatric units and may be useful to assess security policies and procedures in those units.

Following are some of the sources used to develop the questions for this SAQ. This list...

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