Show me that baby! Some Alabama hospitals cease new year tradition, citing abduction concerns

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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) - It's a time-honored tradition we all expect to see the first of every new year; proud parents introducing the community to the first baby born on January 1. But administrators at several hospitals are citing safety concerns for the reason they'll no longer release new year babies' identities.

The Associated Press reports Jackson Hospital spokeswoman Miranda Nobles told the Montgomery Advertiser officials from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children recently sent hospitals statistics showing infant abductions from medical facilities could become more likely during the holidays. Hospital officials said this week that they would no longer release the identities of babies born Jan. 1.

David and Heather Hill welcomed baby Solomon Lee Hill into the world Thursday morning at 12:07 at E-M-C Hospital in Florence. (PHOTO: WHNT News 19.)

David and Heather Hill welcomed baby Solomon Lee Hill into the world Thursday morning at 12:07 at E-M-C Hospital in Florence. (PHOTO: WHNT News 19.)

WHNT News 19 had no problem speaking with new parents David and Heather Hill who welcomed baby Solomon Lee Hill into the world Thursday morning at 12:07. The couple interviewed with WHNT News 19 about the special birth. Mom and baby Solomon were resting Thursday night at E-C-M Hospital in Florence.

Our news partners al.com snagged some of the first photos of Christian Michael Love, born at 7:37 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2015, making him the first baby born at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children in the New Year. (Crestwood Medical Center declined to provide information on its first baby born, citing privacy concerns.)

Not all area hospitals, though, are taking such drastic measures. Security at any hospital will always be a priority, especially in the mom and baby units. But Athens-Limestone Hospital was able to provide some perspective on the privacy and safety debate.

"It's not just on the holidays for us, it's every day we're concerned about security," pointed out Athens-Limestone Hospital Marketing Foundation Development Director Betsy Harris. "And we're really proud and confident in our security or else I would not have invited you here. You can't go into the Mother/Baby Unit and the baby can't come out so that's why we'll be giving you a photograph of our new baby," she explained.

Athens-Limestone Hospital Marketing Director congratulates the parents of baby Kennedy Rose, born at 2:19 Thursday morning. (PHOTO: Scott Harris)

Athens-Limestone Hospital Marketing Director congratulates the parents of baby Kennedy Rose, born at 2:19 Thursday morning. (PHOTO: Scott Harris)

The hospital provided us with this photo of 6 pound, 6 ounce baby Kennedy Rose, born just 2 hours and 19 minutes into 2015. The hospital says there is no violation of policy or laws here, chiefly because the parents consented.

"If they share that information with you, like they are, then that's okay. The first thing we do is talk to the mom and dad and make sure they're okay with this and if they are then we share with you. If it's not okay, then we don't," Harris explains.

While Athens-Limestone agrees no precautionary measure can be spared when it comes to newborns in their care, they won't let fear stop tradition.

"Let's do all the right things that we need to do to protect our moms, their babies and the families, and let's just feel confident and secure that we've done all that we can do and continue to celebrate the birth."​

Jackson hospital in Montgomery is not the only Alabama location putting the brakes on making stars out of their new year babies. Baptist Health facilities have also adopted a new policy against allowing media interviews with parents or showing photos of babies born January 1st.