RFID and Babies – The Technology can Track them too!

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baby rfid

RFID tag on umbilical cord clip

It never ceases to amaze that there truly are endless applications for the data capture technologies that L-Tron specializes in. Most recently my amazement happened while walking through the maternity ward at a hospital (my wife and I were expecting a whole other source of amazement!). It appears that for some time now new parents’, and hospitals’ fear of losing babies has been mitigated with the use of RFID technology.

Imagine taking home your newborn only to realize years later that the baby you took home isn’t actually yours! This has happened and a simple Google search will highlight all sorts of horror stories. For quite a while, barcodes have been used in hospitals for prevention of such mishaps.

The problem with barcode technology in this application is that it is still possible for a mix-up to happen because it relies on humans to scan the barcodes. In this specific application, human error simply can’t happen!

In comes RFID to save the day. The beauty behind an RFID solution is that it doesn’t need to rely on humans to do the checking, scanning, and tracking. By placing RFID tags around the newborn’s ankles and on the umbilical cord clip as well as readers around doorways to patient rooms, elevators, and staircases the chance of a newborn mix-up or theft is greatly reduced!

In the case of maternity rooms, placing readers and alarms at the doorways to all patient rooms could trigger an alarm if a baby is brought into the wrong room. To prevent newborn theft, similar alarms are placed at all possible exits from the floor including elevators and staircases. In this application, barcodes have nothing on RFID.

Typical components of an RFID solution like this would include:

  • RFID Tags – come in a variety of shapes and sizes and selection depends on the application
  • RFID Readers – the workhorse behind the “reading” of tags; can be hidden into the architecture/decorations of the room
  • RFID Antennas – the “receptors” of the RFID signal; come in obvious and not-so-obvious shapes and sizes
  • RFID tracking software – the brains of the RFID system; the functionality of the software will determine what goals can be achieved by the system

If you are interested in learning more or have another application where RFID might be beneficial, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-830-9523 and chat. We love to brainstorm solutions and can ultimately help you achieve your objectives.