The Medical Center at Bowling Green no longer releases information about births to the news media or through social media, following recommendations from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
“This is a decision we recently made for safety reasons,” Jill Payne, executive vice president and chief nursing officer of the large hospital, told Don Sergent of the Bowling Green Daily News. “We’re always assessing and updating our practices.”
Parents who still want to announce the birth of their baby can still do so in the newspaper.
“We will still give people the opportunity to announce the births online and in print,” Joe Imel, director of media operations for the Daily News, told Sergent. “For more than 150 years we’ve listed births, deaths and anniversaries. We still want to offer the community the opportunity to announce these proud moments.”
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children made this recommendation as an attempt to reduce the number of child abductions.
An analysis by the center, which it clearly states is not a scientific study, concluded that there have been 325 confirmed infant abductions in the U.S. since 1965, with 43 percent from health-care facilities, 42 percent from homes and 14 percent from other locations.
A map on the center’s website says Kentucky has had four cases of infant abduction in that 53-year period.
The center recommends not posting a mother’s or infant’s full name where it is visible, and not using full names in announcements to the news media, Payne told Sergent. She added that the hospital is working to educate parents about this safety concern.
“We’re starting to inform folks now,” she said. “We’re making parents aware and educating them about using social media. It’s a great way to publicize these things, but sometimes it can be a dangerous place to put information.”
The Kentucky Hospital Association says it does not track such policies of the 47 Kentucky hospitals that offer maternity services. (The state has 92 acute-care hospitals.) Mike Rust, president and CEO, said KHA hasn’t taken a position on the issue, and decisions are up to individual hospitals.