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Can Waiting to Pick Your Baby's Name Harm Your Child?

We all know that playing the baby name game is no walk in the park. Some parents-to-be have the name selected practically before conception and monogrammed on everything, while others go back and forth until the last minute before finally agreeing upon a name. And then there are the couples that really wait until the 11th hour—after the baby is born—either because they couldn't agree on a name or because they wanted to wait until they physically saw Baby to see which lifelong name fit them best. But it's all good as long as the baby eventually gets named, right?

Apparently we're wrong. A new study published in the medical research journal Pediatrics is saying that waiting too long could lead to an increased risk for your newborn in the hospital. This is mainly due to the fact that when a baby is born without a name, the hospital is still required to give him or her a name in their system for all of the baby's identification materials. Typically, they will enter in something generic for an unnamed baby, like Babygirl Smith. However, hospitals are finding that these made-up names are leading to an increased risk of babies receiving medical treatment meant for other unnamed babies—especially in the NICU, where treatments are more frequently needed.

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According to Jason Aderman, an author of the study, "All neonatologists know this is a problem but weren't able to quantify it." Now that they have studied the correlation, researchers have come up with an improved naming system, which involves utilizing the mother's first name. So instead of Babygirl Smith, it would be Katiesgirl Smith. And in the case of twins, it's 1Katiesgirl and 2 Katiesgirl vs. BabygirlA and BabygirlB. In hospitals that have adopted this new naming convention, the number of medical orders that have been retracted by a health-care worker has dropped 36% in one year. While the study hasn't been done on a large enough pool to prove definitively that this system is better, it's still worth it for hospitals to pause and consider making a switch.

Image via Twenty20/southernfaithbtx

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