Getting switched at birth might sound like the kind of thing that only happens on a Freeform series, but it is a reality people actually experience. In 1998, The Baltimore Sun determined that about 28,000 babies get switched in hospitals each year. It’s an alarming number, but it doesn’t necessarily mean what you think. All these babies don’t end up going home with the wrong family. In fact, most errors are spotted before anyone ever notices.
According to The Joint Commission in Chicago, only eight babies have been switched, in a more serious way, between 1995 and 2008 across 4,500 hospitals nationwide. “When something like this happens, it’s considered a sentinel event, meaning it’s very serious and requires immediate attention,” says Joint Commission spokesperson Elizabeth Zhani. “We work with the organization to determine why it happened and we help them put new procedures into place to make sure it never happens again.”
Thankfully, technology has made it easier for hospitals to implement new checks to prevent this from happening.
There are some easy measures to prevent your baby from being switched
Of course, there are measures families can take to prevent the possibility of baby switching from happening, according to the DNA Diagnostics Center. First, talk to your hospital or birthing center about what measures already exist to prevent babies from being switched. You’ll feel better knowing what you’re working with and feel more confident in closing any perceived gaps.
When you’re in the hospital, keep close tabs on where and with whom your baby is, whenever possible. Verywell Health recommends asking if your partner can go along with your baby to any tests or other procedures that happen outside of your hospital room. Another easy fix? A distinct outfit or accessory! Putting something unique on your baby will make them easier to identify at a glance. It’ll also make your baby stand out that much more to someone who might otherwise not notice a difference.
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