Promoting ‘safe sleep’

Pictured are members of the SOMC Pediatric Guild with Maternity Services Clinical Manager Theresa Ruby (center, right), Maternity Services Nurse Manager Jone Stone (center), and newborn Lincoln Montgomery (wearing a sleep sack).

Members of the Pediatric Guild of Southern Ohio Medical Center recently made a donation of HALO-brand sleep sacks to benefit patients of SOMC Maternity Services.

The sleep sacks will be given to mothers who are unable to purchase the product on their own, and will be used as part of SOMC’s “safe sleep” initiative to help improve the state of Ohio’s infant mortality rate.

“Ohio ranks 46th out of all 50 states for infant mortality,” Jone Stone, nurse manager of SOMC Maternity Services, said. “That’s why we encourage the use of ‘sleep sacks,’ or wearable blankets that replace loose covers during sleep.”

Sleep sacks ensure that a baby is safe throughout the night, eliminating the possibility of blanket entanglement, restricted breathing, and suffocation. Sleep sacks are also useful in keeping babies warm and comfortable because they can’t be kicked off during sleep.

“Sleep sacks can be used until a baby starts to pull itself up; at that time, blanket sleepers are recommended until 18 months,” Stone said. “After that, small blankets can be utilized.”

Parents who are unable to purchase sleep sacks have to utilize small blankets. To use blankets properly, parents should swaddle the baby slightly below the shoulders in a secure manner as to not cover the head or face.

Creating a safe sleep environment means more than just using a sleep sack, however. Babies should always be placed alone, on their back, in a crib. Parents also should not put bumper pads, extra blankets, pillows, toys or stuffed animals in the baby’s crib, and should not fall asleep with a baby in their arms or in their bed.

“Safe sleep environments for newborns save lives, and providing free sleep sacks to needy mothers sends a message about this initiative’s importance,” Stone added. “Anything we can do to educate and help a mom provide her baby with a safe-sleep environment is a priority, and we greatly appreciate the Pediatric Guild for their support in meeting the needs of our patients.”

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