How to steal a newborn baby

Ok, yeah, it sounds like a drastic title, but it is.

Just in case you are wondering if you are reading a baby stealer’s blog, I’m going to invade my own privacy a bit just to explain how it all went down.

Here’s the new fact you’ll know about me after this: I’ve got a newborn son.

Baby security

If you happen to have a baby through the regular, nature intended way, then chances are you were right there in the delivery room with your significant other and you saw your baby getting into this world and followed him/her every step of the way from that point on.

From what I hear though, somewhere around 85% of all deliveries end up in a c-section (i.e. surgery). This was our case, and it meant that I had to be outside of the delivery room.

I waited, sometimes patiently and sometimes not so much. Until 30 minutes later, a man in scrubs from head to toes came out with a baby in an incubator.

“XXXXX’s father?”, the doctor asked. “That’s me”, I answered while I approached my newborn son. “Follow me”, he said and we started walking towards the room where the first vaccines, among other things, were done to my son by a different doctor.

Once we were in this room, one of the things this other doctor did was to write down my son’s name and date of birth on three plastic wrist bands. One for the baby, one for the mother, and one for me.

I attached my own, the doctor tried to attach one to my baby but failed because it was bad somehow, so she just taped it (i.e. it could be easily removed, unlike my own which needed to be broken to be removed).

It was a security measure. Or so they thought, I guess.

It was security theater, as Bruce Schneier would say.

I went with my baby in my arms to the room to wait for the mother. When she arrived, I attached her wrist band.

For security.

All in all, I’m tremendously happy, everything went perfectly. But let’s back up a bit.

What could’ve gone wrong?

So I was alone, standing in front of the operating room. I could’ve been with some other family member, but we wanted that moment to be our own. We like it that way. But… either way, what stopped somebody from somehow taking me to a different place and then have another man claim to be my son’s father?

I didn’t miss the step where they asked me for an ID above, because they didn’t. They just took my word for it, because it seems people don’t lie in those moments.

This might sound like out of a Liam Neeson movie, but human trafficking is real, whether you want to admit it or not. And I may be paranoid, but the security holes are real.

All this happened in Argentina. It seems human trafficking here, comparatively, is not that bad. In places like Mexico, families save money throughout the pregnancy to pay for private security to stand around your baby 24/7, from the moment he or she comes out of the mother until the whole family leaves the hospital.

In Argentina, we attach a piece of plastic to the baby and hope for the best.

How to improve baby security with simple changes

Do we need an extremely complex system to get this done right? No! Here are a couple of simple things that can improve security:

  • Ask for the identity of the person receiving the baby while the mother is still in surgery, then have the doctor actually check that the person who claims to be the father actually is who he says he is.
  • Get the wrist bands on the parents before the child is born. Then, get the doctor to check that the father has the correct wrist band to receive the baby while the mother is in surgery.
  • Get the father to scrub in with the mother and follow the baby from the actual birth.

Are these perfect? Of course not, but they sure are better alternatives than what I experienced.