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Published on May 16, 2013

Mercy Birthplace replaces baby blankets with new sleep sacks

HALO Sleep Sack SwaddleSleep sacks are replacing baby blankets at Mercy Medical Center’s Birthplace in a move to keep newborns safer, and model best practices for new parents.

As part of Mercy’s Sleep Safe initiative, all babies born at Mercy’s Birthplace, and infants cared for in Mercy’s NICU, will now sleep in HALO® Sleep Sack® wearable blankets, discontinuing the hospital’s use of infant swaddling blankets.

The sleep sacks are wearable blankets that zip up and have two "wings" on the side that wrap around the baby's arms. And while there’s still room for infants to move their legs, the sleep sacks can't be kicked off like a loose blanket.

“As part of Mercy’s ongoing commitment to newborn safety and to educate parents we are joining a growing number of hospitals across the nation, and following the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in making this change,” says Linda Klein, director of Mercy’s Birthplace.  “We know that parents will model the behavior they see in the hospital so if we use it here, parents will be more likely to follow the trend when they bring their newborns home.”

The growing movement to replace swaddling blankets with sleep sacks is aimed at reducing the chance of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.  SIDS has declined dramatically since the American Academy of Pediatrics began recommending in 1992 that babies be placed on their backs for safest sleeping, but sleep-related deaths from other causes such as suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia have increased, the academy said in its 2011 expanded guidelines for safe infant sleep and SIDS reduction.

Other Sleep Safe reminders include:

  • Baby should sleep alone in a crib, portable crib or bassinette
  • Always put baby on his/her back to sleep even when the infant can roll over
  • No pillows, blankets, comforters, stuffed animals or other soft things should be in the sleep area
  • Keep baby’s face uncovered during sleep for easy breathing; use a sleeper instead of a blanket
  • Don’t allow anyone to smoke around baby
  • Don’t overheat baby; dress the baby in as much or as little clothing as you are wearing
  • Use a firm mattress with a tightly fitted sheep
  • Place baby in the same sleep position every time.

Wearable blankets — which come in different sizes — should be worn for sleep for at least the first year of life. By then, children are old enough to pull blankets off their face or push themselves away from danger.

The sleep sacks are available for purchase at the Mercy Gift Shop for $12.

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