In continued efforts to help promote safe sleeping habits for babies, Bothwell Regional Health Center is now giving a HALO SleepSack to every baby born at the hospital.
The new SleepSacks are made possible by a donation from the Bothwell Foundation. Newborns began receiving them May 1, but Bothwell has been using them for babies while they’re at the hospital, said Janet Bombella, director of Women’s Health at Bothwell.
“We’re using them in the hospital too instead of baby blankets,” she said. “We still have those to clean them off, but as a rule in mom’s room we practice safe sleeping, which includes a SleepSack. We have some we keep here, but we also send one home with each mom to promote their use at home and to use practices to keep baby safe. We show (parents) how to use (SleepSacks) before leaving.”
Among many other practices, using a SleepSack can help reduce sudden unexpected infant death, or SUID, which affects about 3,500 babies a year nationally, according to a Bothwell news release.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SUID describes the “sudden and unexpected death of a baby less than 1 year old in which the cause was not obvious before investigation. These deaths often happen during sleep or in the baby’s sleep area.”
“Babies really not getting enough air is what they’re thinking,” Bombella explained. “They’re not getting enough clean air to breathe if they’re covered in blankets or stuffed animals or there’s smoking in the house. Once these ideas were implemented, the number of SUID deaths decreased, but we don’t know exactly what causes it.”
A SleepSack takes the place of a blanket while a baby is sleeping, swaddling the baby so they feel cuddled or held without the possibility of it covering their face like a blanket. It also keeps the baby at a comfortable temperature at night.
“A lot of the time, babies are overbundled,” Bombella said. “Parents think babies need more than we do, but usually if we’re warm, they’re warm and if we’re cold, they’re cold. The SleepSack is right the consistency to keep them nice and warm, but not too warm like a bunch of blankets would do.
“… It keeps their arms close to feel swaddled, but they can still kick their feet and move around, so they’re not completely constricted in the SleepSack.”
The CDC also offers these sleep-safe practices:
• Share a room but not a sleep surface with your baby for the first six to 12 months of a baby’s life.
• Place baby to sleep on their back on a firm and flat mattress.
• Keep baby’s sleep surface free of soft objects that could obstruct breathing, including plush toys, blankets and bumpers.
• Don’t smoke, especially anywhere near your baby.
• Offer your baby a pacifier at bedtime.
• Keep baby’s room well-ventilated and don’t overdress your baby, to prevent overheating.
• Breastfeed if possible.
• Ensure your baby’s up-to-date with vaccinations.