Study finds waiting for baby names could lead to medical mistake

Most of these decisions go down to the wire anyway. What to name your child? That’s too much pressure. But a new study shows that maybe deciding ahead of time could lead to a healthier child.

According to a new study in Pediatrics, picking a baby name later could lead to medical mistakes because hospitals need a way to identify the baby following birth. This includes having the name inscribed on the bracelet that babies have to get their shots.

The researchers found that if the name on the baby’s bracelet is not distinctive, it could increase the risk of the baby getting treatment for something it didn’t need or worse, a baby that needs treatment not getting anything.

The study devised a new system that closely resembles how generators come up with passwords for your computer. The current system would label a baby girl, Babygirl Smith, but with the new system, it would take the first name of the mother so it would look like Janesgirl Smith instead.

In the case of twins, it would be 1Janesgirl and 2Janesgirl rather than BabygirlA and BabygirlB. Using data from the hospital’s retract-and-reorder system, which is a computer system that flags medical orders for specific patients, it showed that using this system could possibly aid some of the issues that are plaguing newborns and getting incorrect treatment.

Gautham Suresh, a neonatologist who is chief medical officer of Texas Children's Newborn Center in Houston, told NPR that the system was like missing the highway exit and being able to get back into the right lane and take the correct exit later.

The research team hopes that this new system will help to lower the rate of these clerical errors.

Read more at Pediatrics and NPR.

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