A Norwegian hospital said Monday it was planning to equip all newborn babies with anti-theft alarms to protect them from kidnappings and help avoid identity mix-ups.
"The main reason is that we want to emphasise security," Erik Normann, head of the Akershus University Hospital near Oslo told AFP.
Advertisement"There was a period in which Norway experienced several infant kidnappings and that is something we want to avoid," he said.
The alarm system consists of two small chips, one attached to a bracelet clasped around the baby's ankle as soon as it is born and the other stuck on the mother's bracelet.
When the two chips are separated by a certain distance the alarm is set off. If a woman tries to leave with a baby who is not her own, or if someone tries to rip the bracelet off an infant, the hospital doors automatically lock shut and the hospital elevators grind to a halt.
The Akershus hospital, which has one of Norway's largest maternity wards with some 4,200 babies delivered there each year, has never experienced an infant kidnapping, Normann said.
The hospital, which will be the first in the Scandinavian country to implement the "inexpensive" system, has decided to begin using the alarms when it moves to a new location on October 1.
Before then, the new system must receive the approval of the hospital board.