Newborn Abduction Prevention
Protecting Your Newborn at Home
The guidelines listed below provide good, sound parenting techniques to help prevent abduction of babies once taken home.
1. Have at least one color photo of your baby with a full, front-face view for your records as well as a complete written description of your baby including hair and eye color, length, weight, date of birth and specific physical characteristics.
2. Do not allow anyone into your home who says he or she is affiliated with the facility without properly verified identification as issued by that facility. Find out what additional or special identification is being worn to further identify those staff members who have authority to enter your home.
3. Consider the risk you may be taking when permitting your baby’s birth announcement to be published in the newspaper or online. Birth announcements should never include the family’s home address and be limited to the parents’ surname(s). In general, birth announcements in newspapers are not endorsed by most experts. Also use caution when communicating with those on social media and carefully consider what you post on your social media pages about your baby and you. Specifically do not include the mother’s first name or home location when posting the announcement, and remember what information is already posted in online profiles that could provide these details.
4. Know the use of outdoor announcements, such as signs, balloons, large floral wreaths and other lawn ornaments, are not recommended to announce a birth because they call attention to the presence of a new baby in the home.
5. Allow only people into your home who are well-known by the mother. It is ill advised to allow anyone into your home who is just a mere or recent acquaintance, especially if met briefly since you became pregnant or gave birth to your baby. There have been several cases in which an abductor has made initial contact with a mother and baby in the health care facility setting and then subsequently abducted the baby from the family home. If anyone should arrive at the home claiming to be affiliated with the health care facility where the baby was born or other health care provider, remember to follow the procedures outlined above. A high degree of diligence should be exercised by family members when home with the baby. The baby’s family is the domestic security team for their family. All family members should be sensitive to any suspicious visitors.
6. When taking your baby out, whenever possible, take a trusted friend or family member with you as an extra set of hands and eyes to protect and constantly observe your baby. Never leave a child alone in a motor vehicle even if just for a few moments to run a short errand, such as paying for gas, as it is too easy for someone to steal the car. Always take the child with you. And never let someone you don’t know pick up or hold your child.
Reference: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 2014, www.missingkids.com (1-800-THE-LOST)