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Denver Area Hospitals Focus On Newborn Security

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Each newborn has a security sensor at Sky Ridge Medical Center (credit: CBS)

Each newborn has a security sensor at Sky Ridge Medical Center (credit: CBS)

LONE TREE, Colo. (CBS4)- One hospital in the Denver metro area is confident in its newborn security measures. The focus on keeping infants with their parents in the days following birth is emphasized after a woman in California tried to steal a baby.

The woman allegedly told the new mother that she needed to take a shower because a doctor would be in to see her soon. While the mother was occupied the woman allegedly put the baby in a tote and tried to leave the hospital.

“She made it to the door. She’s trying to get through that door and the electronic security locks had engaged, and the employees had come over and stopped her and held her there,” said Garden Grove, Calif. Police Lt. Jeff Nightengale.

In the Denver metro area, hospitals practice their own security measures. At Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, they practice infant security drills several times a quarter at different times of the day and different days of the week.

“Every department is responsible to go and stand at every exit door and every exit from the hospital to the outside,” said Chief Nursing Officer Marian Savitsky.

Newborns also wear an electronic sensor on the ankle.

“Every baby has one of these. Every baby has one of these tags on,” said Savitsky.

She said that an alarm will sound if the sensor crosses a certain perimeter, “The alarm would automatically go off.”

When the sensor gets too close to the elevator, an alarm also sounds and it prevents the doors from closing. It also sounds an alarm if it loses contact with the baby’s skin.

“A security system is very important but it’s the whole program around safety,” said Savitsky.

At Sky Ridge Medical Center, patients receive forms about who is allowed to take the baby from the room. Hospital staff is also trained to profile an abductor.

“We want to protect our babies,” said Savitsky.

All HealthONE Hospitals, Exempla Hospitals, University Hospital and Denver Health Medical Center all have similar security measures in place.

If a suspicious person catches someone’s attention at one hospital, the security department will send out the information to all area hospitals. They will work together when it comes to keeping newborns safe.

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