Baptist Health has taken a strong step toward helping reduce the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) with the use of Halo Sleep Sacks and safe sleep education for all parents.
As an extra layer of safety for newborns and added peace of mind for new mothers, sleep sacks have replaced traditional baby blankets at Baptist Health medical centers. Sleep sacks, which are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, are wearable blankets with built-in safety measures to prevent suffocation.
Even swaddled babies can wiggle out of regular blankets or pull blankets over their faces. These loose and/or bulky blankets, along with other bedding, stuffed toys and bumper pads, in the crib can smother an infant. The adjustable sleep-sack wrap immobilizes the baby’s arms to prevent blanket movement and to remove the hazard. The wrap also makes for an easy transition when it is time to stop swaddling.
Though SIDS cases have decreased over the years, 2,500 U.S. newborns still die of SIDS each year. According to latest statistics, Arkansas ranks third in the country at 141.1 deaths per 100,000 live births compared to the average nationally 39.7. Experts speculate that promoting babies sleeping on their backs is working, but bed sharing (which has been associated with SIDS) is up. Another risk factor for SIDS is over bundling the baby or tucking the baby in with a blanket.
They come in two sizes as well as two colors — pink for girls and blue for boys. Using them in the hospital is a great way for our caregivers to help teach parents about safe sleep for infants.
Baptist Health is using the new safety blanket at all of its medical centers where babies are delivered, which includes Little Rock, North Little Rock, Conway, Fort Smith, Stuttgart, and Arkadelphia.
Baby Safe Sleeping Tips
Use Proper Bedding
Always place your baby alone, on his or her back, in a crib for EVERY sleep time.
Always use a firm, flat sleep surface. Car seats and other sitting devices, swings, wedges, and devices that position baby on an incline are NOT SAFE for routine sleep.
Use a firm sleep surface with a firm crib mattress, covered by a fitted sheet. A crib, bassinet, or portable crib/play yard that conforms to the safety standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and ASTM International is recommended. In addition, check to make sure that the product has not been recalled. Parents should not try to repair cribs that are broken or missing hardware nor should they be used.
Because there is no evidence that bumper pads or similar products that attach to crib slats or sides prevent injury in young infants and because there IS the potential for suffocation, entrapment, and strangulation, these products are NOT RECOMMENDED.
Avoid commercial devices marketed to reduce the risk of SIDS. These devices include wedges, positioners, special mattresses, and special sleep surfaces. There is no evidence that these devices reduce the risk of SIDS or suffocation or that they are safe.
Room share but do not bed share.
- Room-sharing is when parents have a crib in the room with them, a bassinet or portable crib near the bed, a separate crib attached to the bed, or a similar arrangement.
- Bed-sharing is when parents share their bed with their children. This is NOT recommended because it puts babies at risk of suffocation, strangulation, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Studies have found that bed-sharing is the most common cause of deaths in babies, especially those 3 months and younger.
Avoid smoke exposure during pregnancy and after your baby is born. There should be no smoking near pregnant women or infants. Set strict rules for smoke-free homes and cars.
Don’t overheat or overdress your baby. Dress your baby in light sleep clothing. Keep the room at a temperature that is comfortable for an adult (between 68- 72 degrees F).
Breastfeeding is associated with a reduced risk of SIDS. If possible, mothers should exclusively breastfeed or feed with expressed human milk (i.e., not offer any formula or other non-human milk-based supplements) for six months, according to AAP recommendations.
Plan Ahead When Traveling
Travel is one of the biggest causes of sleep disturbances to a baby. Remember to pack what you’ll need to ensure a separate, safe sleeping environment for your baby while away from home. If staying in a hotel, ask in advance if they have cribs available to use in your room.