With nearly four million babies born in thousands of facilities across the country each year, the process to keep newborns safe after birth has changed and advanced over the years.
At all times of the day, staff on the labor and delivery floor are hard at work.
On average 120 babies are born each month at Portneuf Medical Center with 5 to 14 plus babies a day in the nursery.
“The second floor is pretty important to all of us,” explained Head of Security Rich Pottorff. “We take extra special care to make sure that there is enough protocol in place, enough systems in place to make sure they are protected 24/7.”
From the moment a mother is admitted into labor and delivery she is educated on the red badge, which alerts her to who is safe to touch her baby.
When the baby is born, it’s immediately banded with a number that matches the mom.
“Those two numbers need to match and anytime the mother, father or significant other takes the baby to the nursery and goes to pick the baby back up there's a matching of those numbers,” explained Anita Heaney, the Director of Women’s and Children’s Services.
Finally the baby is banded with a security bracelet and anytime they come close to an elevator or door, an alarm goes off and the second floor locks up.
“It’s something we take really serious,” said Heaney. “It's something that gives mom a sense of safety; mom and dad sense of safety that their baby is being monitored at any time.”
While infant abductions aren’t very common with only 308 recorded from 1983 until 2016, the severity of the situation is devastating as 11 of those babies are still missing.
“Even when my kids were born 17 to 20 years ago the protocols were a lot different. It was a lot more open,” explained Pottorff. “We have a lot of access control now. We know exactly who goes on the floor at what time, through what door and through what elevator."
Even with the amount of technology that goes into it, staff says the biggest part of safety is the human factor, with the baby now staying with the mom longer than they used to.
"There's very few times the baby is actually separated from mom and dad and when they are we know exactly where they are at all times," said Pottorff.
Safety checks are also done on a weekly basis to make sure monitors are working properly. Plus security staff run anywhere from 12 to 14 drills a year to ensure the system runs smoothly.