July 22, 2005

I Stand Corrected. RFID Prevents Babynapping in NC Hospital

It seems like just yesterday when I was questioning the efficacy of RFID-embedded pajamas to prevent what the technology solution providers were calling an "epidemic" of child kidnappings by "convicted sex offenders." Well, color ME embarassed.

Turns out just last week or so, an RFID ankle bracelet system called--creepily--"HUGS" thwarted an attempted babynapping at a Charlotte, NC hospital. The evildoers in this case were...the newborn's parents, who were afraid that their baby would join their other two kids in the protective custody of Social Services. I guess they figured if they did anything stupid--like spiriting the kid away without authorization, maybe--they'd lose the kid, so they decided to spirit the kid away and... huh?

Anyway, the epidemic of babynapping turns out to be very real: VeriChip, the "HUGS" manufacturer, says that 223 babynappings have occurred in just the last 22 years alone. That's almost as many as have drowned in 5-gallon buckets. Hopefully, the RFID industry will turn its marketing attention to that epidemic soon.

RFID System Prevented A Possible Infant Abduction [informationweek via engadget]
Previously: Track Nerds' Children with RFID Pajamas
1-year-old drowns in bucket of water


It is a scary world that we live in...

Thanks for all the insight, my wife and I are expecting our first in about a month now and I have found your sight very helpful.


Has there been even one case of attempted abduction that occurred with an attempt to thwart the use of regular non-RFID bracelets?

I don't know what technology they used exactly, but the hospital where our daughter was born put a tag on her cord, and if the baby was taken outside the unrestricted area, it would alert security, lock the stairwell doors and shut down the elevators.

The hospital we're going to be delivering at (Scottsdale Memorial-Shea campus in Arizona) has the same thing that Kaz mentioned.

for the hospital, the liability risk of an abduction surely far outweighs the cost of these systems, as crazy as they may seem.

I wouldn't select a hospital that didn't take all the percautions that modern technology affords them to protect children from abduction.

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