Torrance Memorial Medical Center is the first hospital in Los Angeles County to use an innovative biometric identification system that helps protect newborn identity and safety.
CertaScan Technologies replaces the traditional ink method and provides increased security by digitally taking high resolution footprints for precise identification in situations like abductions, lost or abandoned babies, or natural disasters.
"In the case of natural disasters, there is the real possibility of children being separated from their parents. This technology would be instrumental in connecting families back together," said Natalie Thorpe, a registered nurse. "As for abductions, the prints of the baby, that most families wouldn't have, would be accessible right away. There would be no delay in confirming who the baby belongs to."
The system also takes security photos as part of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's (NCMEC's) Guidelines. In addition to the baby's footprint, the system scans mom's index fingerprints to better link her to her baby.
"Babies will be foot-printed soon after delivery after the initial bonding time for families is complete," Thorpe said. "If a baby needs to be transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for any reason, as soon as the baby is stable, the nurse will complete the scan."
Torrance Memorial delivers nearly 3,000 infants a year and the CertaScan technology allows staff to provide the higher level of safety and security needed for newborns and young children in the community, according to a hospital statement. The method is preferred by nurses because it replaces the traditional messy inks or special paper processes.
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After mom and baby are home, she can download a free keepsake printable of her baby's footprint and customize it with different colors, fonts and borders.