Baptist Health Medical Center has made the decision to actively fight the number of children killed by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) through the use of Halo Sleep Sacks and safe sleep education.
The hospitals have replaced traditional baby blankets with the new, Velcro-fastened wraps to help reduce the likelihood of suffocation. As of Wednesday, every baby born at a Baptist Health hospital will take home their own Halo Sleep Sack.
Atticus Frank, the son of Ryan Frank and Elenore Vera, was the first child at the hospital in Conway to receive one.
The baby boy was born at 3:43 a.m. Wednesday.
“It was a lovely surprise to know we were getting one,” Elenore said.
She said they brought two other sacks with them but the one the hospital gave them wrapped Atticus easier and tighter and made him more content.
Atticus is Ryan and Elenore’s first child.
She said SIDS is an issue she previously read about to prepare for Atticus to make sure what they were doing was safe.
Elenore said she had already woken up four or five times a night making sure nothing was on his face and that she is thankful for the small gesture from Baptist Health for helping to ease her mommy mind.
“It just helps me know that [he’s] wrapped up,” she said.
Misty Hester, the labor and delivery manager, said Arkansas is No. 3 in the nation for SIDS deaths — 141.1 average deaths per 100,000 live births compared to the average 39.7 nationally, according to a news release from the hospital.
“[At] Baptist Health, we wanted to help moms and babies be safer here in Arkansas, so we’ve decided to initiate our sleep sacks that we use,” she said. “The sleep sack was behind the sleep safety we’ve been trying to teach our parents about the back is best, to keep babies and big blankets out.”
Hester said when babies are wrapped in the sacks, their arms are tucked in which keeps them from being able to move and pull blankets over their faces, a risk that increases SIDS along with bulky blankets, crib pads and co-sleeping.
Overall, she said, 2,500 babies a year die from SIDS.
“I think Baptist saw there was a need and that we really wanted to help with that need to decrease the percentage of SIDS in Arkansas,” Hester said. “I just feel really blessed to be a part of this and being able to help with such an important thing in Arkansas that we need to decrease.”
Several hospitals across the U.S. have replaced the baby blankets with the sleep sacks, Troy Wells, president and CEO of Baptist Health, said in a news release.
“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,” he said.
“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 wraps 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,” Brenda Goodhart, director of Baptist Health’s Women’s Center, said. “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.”