Keeping newborns linked to their families is easier now at Palmetto Health Richland hospital.
The Columbia hospital is the first in South Carolina to use a new infant footprint scan and photograph system.
The Infant Safety System allows the hospital to capture high-resolution newborn footprints that can be used for precise identification in situations such as an abduction, a lost baby or a natural disaster.
Parents now have the option to have their babies’ footprints scanned and their photographs taken immediately after birth. The mother’s index finger is also scanned and linked to her baby’s. It is a free service for families.
There’s comfort in knowing “we’re linked to each other no matter what,” said Zaria Montgomery, who gave birth to her first child, daughter Kalani, on Wednesday at the hospital.
“These measures give peace of mind to families and hospital staff, as well as putting Palmetto Health Richland in line with recommendations from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children,” said Felicia Wesley, a nurse manager at Palmetto Health Richland Birthplace.
Like fingerprints, footprints are unique to each baby, so they can be used for identification throughout a lifetime. The footprints are stored in a baby’s electronic medical record.
Families will receive certificates with their babies’ footprints on them, and they can access the certificates online with the option to print multiple copies.