China hospitals take steps to prevent theft of babies

October 30, 2012 9:11 am


A newborn wears a security bracelet around his leg to keep him from being stolen from the maternity ward/XINHUA
BEIJING, Oct 30 – Hospitals in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, are using security bracelets to keep newborn babies from being stolen from the maternity ward.

Chu Zhiping, matron of the maternity department under the No 2 Hospital affiliated with Nanjing Medical University, said the security bracelet will sound an alarm if a baby is taken outside certain areas of the department.

“Warnings will also be shown on nurses’ computers so they can immediately know which baby has been taken and take action together with the guards,” Chu said.

She added that the bracelet, which contains all of the baby’s information, such as health, mother’s name and hospital-bed number, can be removed only by staff members.

“The bracelet will sound an alarm if other people try to untie or cut it off, and it’s very safe for the baby to wear the bracelet because the radiation it produces is very low,” Chu said.

No 2 Hospital has used the security bracelet since 2008. Other hospitals in the city have started using them or taken even stronger measures to prevent baby stealing.

Gulou Hospital has security guards on duty round-the-clock. Only two visitors at a time are allowed during visiting hours. Babies can be taken out of the hospital only if a discharge certificate is provided.

“Medical workers in our maternity ward must wear a special sign in front of their chest if they want to take babies from their mothers for treatment”, said a matron named He at a hospital affiliated with Southeast University, who was previously interviewed by Yangtze Evening News.

“Even a matron like me is no exception,” He said.

In Nanjing Maternity and Child Healthcare Hospital, the first class that the parents-to-be have to take is on how to check the identities of medical workers. In addition, more than 500 surveillance cameras have been installed as the facility.

Hospitals and parents in China have been on high alert after repeated media reports of babies being stolen.

In October, a 3-day-old boy was stolen by a woman in Huaiyuan county, Anhui province.

In November 2011, a 6-day-old girl was taken out of a hospital in Xinghua, Jiangsu. A 1-day-old baby boy was reported stolen in Shanwei, Guangdong province, in the same month.

“Though the security measures seem complicated, they are necessary because my wife and I cannot be alert every second,” said Zhang Lei, who lives in the city’s Gulou district and who became a father in October.

“I can’t imagine my baby being stolen or exchanged by mistake in the hospital. For me, the more complicated, the better.”


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