Infant AbductionCrime Awareness

Preventing Infant/Child Abduction

All employees have a responsibility in protecting infants and children from being abducted from our hospital. 

By knowing a few basic principles you can help keep infants and children from being harmed.

Abductor Profile

  • Usually an overweight female between 14 - 48 years of age; average age 28 years old
  • May seem emotionally immature; suffer from low self-esteem with a history of manipulative behavior
  • May have a history of miscarriages or infertility
  • May have faked pregnancy or misrepresented herself as pregnant
  • Usually is married or cohabitating; relationship may be troubled or strained
  • May be attempting to “save the relationship” by abducting a child
  • Has planned the abduction, but selection is random and opportunistic
  • Usually targets an infant/child of the same race
  • Usually acts alone, but may have a “partner” who will create a distraction to lure staff away from the target
  • Usually has no criminal record or may have non-violent offenses such as shop lifting, forgery or check fraud

Potential Abductor Behavior

  • Abductors are known to search out targeted rooms.  These include rooms that are out of view of the nurses’ station, playrooms, and those close to stairwells, fire exits and elevators.
  • Abductors have also been known to create a diversion in another area of the hospital to facilitate an infant/child abduction.
  • Questions about hospital procedures and floor layout, such as “When is feeding time?” “When are babies taken to the mothers?” or “Where are the stairs”
  • Newborn babies who are being physically carried in the hospital
  • Persons who are carrying large packages, totes or duffel bags off patient care areas
  • Repeated visiting “just to see” an infant or child

Identifying UTMB Hospital Employees

All UTMB hospital personnel are to wear clearly visible identification badges. Neonatal Nurseries/Children’s Hospital employees wear the same UTMB badge with a dolphin logo in the lower left corner.

Identifying UTMB Babies and Children

  • At the time of birth, all infants are assigned a numbered umbilical cord clamp with matching numbered wristbands.
  • Wristbands may be placed on either the arm or the leg.
  • Wristbands are worn until after an infant is discharged.  The mother may then remove the ID bands once she has left the hospital with her infant.
  • Matching adult bands with the same numbers are made.  One is placed on the mother’s wrist, and the second one is placed on the wrist of the person designated by the mother.
  • In addition a picture of each infant is taken at birth and kept in the patient chart.
  • Ill parents/visitors are asked to check in at the nurses’ station before entering a patient’s room.

Bassinets must be secured at all times.  Any unsecured bassinets will be considered suspect requiring that all infants and children be accounted for

Child Abduction

Actions for Suspected Infant/Child Abduction

  • Call University Police at Ex 772-1111 immediately
  • Describe the person and situation
  • Notify the charge nurse
  • University Police will call a Pink Alert over the overhead paging system
  • University Police will notify Galveston Police and the FBI
  • During aPink Alert employees are on alert for any suspicious behavior
  • Personnel will be assigned to monitor exits until University Police arrive
  • University Police will monitor hallways and exits
  • Social Services will be notified for additional support services
  • Requests for information are referred to Office of University Advancement (OUA)

What to Teach Parents on how to reduce the possibility of an Infant Abduction

  • Never give the infant/child to anyone without  properly verifying hospital identification (the dolphin logo is specific to the Newborn Nursery/Children’s Hospital areas)
  • Know which nurse is assigned to their care and their child
  • Question unfamiliar persons entering their room or inquiring about their child, even if the person is in hospital attire or seems to have a reason for being there
  • Inquire where the infant/child is being taken for tests and how long the tests will take.  Find out who authorized the tests. 
  • Alert the nurses immediately if a person or their answers seem questionable


UTMB Safe App