Hospitals trust procedures to protect babies

Police: Teen's abduction plan foiled by hospital's system


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When it comes to protecting babies, hospitals can never be too safe. That's why at local hospitals, staffers are on the lookout.

A monitor inside of the Women's Center at Memorial Hospital helps staffers keep track of everyone who comes through the area.

"You can't just have one piece of security. Obviously, infants are a very fragile population, and we have to keep them very secure with today's society," said Jill Bodden, director of Women's Services at the hospital.

Bodden said the hospital has several layers of security in place just in case one fails. One component is that every door and every entrance is locked. Some doors require a code to get in.

Then there's the "hugs and kisses" system. Newborns get an ankle band, which is the hugs part of the system. It helps the hospital keep track of where the baby is at all times. An alarm goes off if the baby is in the wrong place.

The "kisses" part is what the mom wears, making sure she's connected with the right baby.

A similar system in place at a Georgia hospital is being credited with foiling an attempted baby abduction. Police arrested 19-year-old Naquelle Ballard, who's accused of trying to take a newborn.

And who can forget the story of Kamiyah Mobley. In 1998, the Jacksonville baby was abducted from then-University Hospital and hasn't been seen since.

The hospital now known as Shands Jacksonville Medical Center also has wristbands and ankle bands, along with security guards in place and rehearsed drills.

St. Vincent's Hospital said it also has comprehensive plans and procedures in place.

"A baby can't speak up and say this isn't my parent, so we have to do everything we can to protect them," Bodden said.

Before leaving the Women's Center at Memorial, the last thing staff will do is check people's belongings. They'll look inside purses, strollers, boxes and anything they believe someone could try to put a child in.