A new system has been developed to prevent mix-ups over identification of newborn babies. The system, which records the fingerprints of newborns as barcodes, has been introduced in the maternity ward of La Zarzuela Hospital in Madrid, Spain.
As soon as babies are born, their fingerprints, and those of their mothers, are stored in electronic barcodes which mother and baby wear on their wrists. The barcodes also contain other information, including the mother's details and information about the doctors present at the birth. In effect, they act as an ID card for the child and in case of a doubt about identity of the baby arises, the barcodes can be scanned by a machine which matches the child with its mother.
Parents are naturally worried about the safety of their child when not under their direct care and though there are not many mix-ups reported, they happen nevertheless. Therefore,with this system there is a much-reduced risk of any mistake being made, though the initiative may involve lots of time and money, and is yet to be proved foolproof.