Baptist Health Ensuring Safe Sleep for Infants In and Out of the Hospital With the Use of Sleep Sacks

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Baptist Health is taking 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.

To further promote this patient-safety initiative, every baby born at a Baptist Health hospital will go home with their very own sleep sack beginning Wednesday, April 4.

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 overbundling the baby or tucking the baby in with a blanket.

“Some hospitals across the country have replaced baby blankets with sleep sacks in their newborn areas,” said Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health. “We want to take a step further and not only utilize sleep sacks in all of our hospitals but provide one to every mother to promote the use of these sleep sacks at home. It is one thing to promote safety in the hospital, but allowing a mother to take the wrap home helps to ensure it will be used even after discharge from the hospital.”

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, Stuttgart, and Arkadelphia.

“We’ve gotten a wonderful response from the families using them in the hospital, and they are super excited to find out that they get to take a sleep sack home with them,” said Brenda Goodhart, director of Baptist Health’s Women’s Center. “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 estimates they will provide around 6,000 sleep sacks during 2018 based on the number of deliveries in all of their hospitals.

Baptist Health is an Arkansas-based, locally owned and managed, not-for-profit, and faith-based health-care organization. Baptist Health is also Arkansas’ most comprehensive health-care organization with more than 9,100 employees operating nine hospitals. For more information about Baptist Health, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or visit the website at Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.