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Patterns of Non-Family Infant Abductions Are Changing

Fewer babies are snatched from hospitals but more are being taken from homes and public places

FRIDAY, Sept. 5 (HealthDay News) -- The profile of non-family infant abductions is changing, with fewer babies being taken from hospitals and more from homes and public places, according to a report published in the September issue of the American Journal of Nursing.

Ann Wolbert Burgess, R.N., of the William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and colleagues used the findings of two studies into non-family infant abductions -- one of 119 abductions between 1983 through 1992, and the other of 199 abductions between 1983 and 2000 -- to compare the profile of abductors and abducted babies, and the circumstances of the abduction.

In the later period there were significant increases in the abduction of babies less than a day old, including a rise in abductions by Caesarean section; use of weapons, which was up from 11 percent to 20 percent; and the proportion of babies abducted from homes, up from 29 percent to 49 percent. At the same time, abductions from hospitals fell from 63 percent to 32 percent, the researchers report.

"Parent education should include familiarizing expectant and new parents with their hospital or birthing facility's protocols concerning routine care, visitation and security," the authors write. "They should be cautioned to be watchful of anyone they don't know well, especially anyone whom they met during the pregnancy, anyone who shows excessive interest, and anyone who arrives at their home unannounced or who can't provide checkable identification."

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