Central Maine Medical Center has replaced the age-old infant receiving blanket with a slightly higher-tech and safer “sleep sack,” according CMMC nurse educator Betsy McGrail.
Babies born at the hospital’s Special Delivery Family Birthing Center and infants cared for in its Neonatal Intermediate Care Unit now sleep in HALO Sleep Sack wearable blankets. The HALO Sleep Sack safely envelopes infants, keeping them warm while eliminating chances that the child’s breathing will be obstructed by loose blankets. CMMC is also discharging infants with sleep sacks.
Tragically, between seven and 10 babies die in Maine each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a phenomenon not fully understood by medical researchers. SIDS is defined as the sudden death of an infant younger than one year of age that remains unexplained even after a complete autopsy, death scene investigation, and thorough review of the clinical history are conducted.
Although the cause of SIDS remains undetermined, there are several things medical experts seem to agree upon, including that the traditional baby blanket poses its own dangers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends the use of sleep sacks, warning parents to keep a baby’s sleeping area free of soft bedding and other soft items, including pillows, blankets, soft or pillow-like bumpers, positioners, stuffed toys and sheepskins.
“Loose blankets, soft mattresses, pillows, and other soft objects present a suffocation threat for babies,” says pediatric hospitalist Rebecca Brakeley, M.D. “CMMC is now outfitting and discharging babies in sleep sacks to help eliminate this potential danger.”