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Ariz. Hospital Limits Birth Ads

November 28, 1998

MESA, Ariz. (AP) _ Desert Samaritan Hospital will no longer give birth information to newspapers, saying its decision has to do with protecting the infants and their parents from ``stranger danger.″

Spokeswoman Susan Gordon said Friday the hospital wanted to be consistent with the safety precautions included in a book of tips compiled by the hospital and given to new parents.

The book advises against publishing births in the paper, telling large numbers of people about the new arrival or posting signs and banners at home.

Though the hospital, home to more than 6,000 births a year, has had no reported crimes or safety issues stemming from published birth announcements, ``our policy is our way of assisting (parents) in keeping their baby safe,″ said Anne Surra, admissions supervisor.

The police saw no need for the Mesa hospital’s concern.

``Birth announcements have been in newspapers for hundreds of years. I wouldn’t think it would make much difference,″ said Sgt. Earle Lloyd, a Mesa police spokesman.

Other area hospitals, such as Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, have discontinued publishing birth announcements, but spokesman Bill Byron said the reason was more for logistics than safety.

It simply became too time consuming and costly to arrange announcements for the 7,600 babies born there each year, Byron said.

Desert Samaritan hospital will work with newspaper representatives to find a way to accommodate parents who insist on the announcement, Gordon said.

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