Welcome Newborns to offer larger sleep sacks

ESCANABA — Welcome Newborns of Delta County has announced it will now offer HALO Sleep Sacks in a larger size to help prevent the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in growing babies.

A baby in Michigan dies nearly every other day due to sleeping in an unsafe sleep environment — that’s over 150 babies every year. SIDS, the unexpected and sudden death of apparently healthy babies, is the third leading cause of infant death, behind premature birth and medical conditions.

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare; putting their baby to sleep and discovering the next morning that the child has passed away. In the U.S., more than 3,500 infants die each year from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS and from what experts describe as “other sleep-related causes of infant death.” Sparing families the incomprehensible tragedy has been a long-term goal of the Welcome Newborns program.

Experts have learned that even the healthiest of infants may be at increased risk of death due to the environment they are sleeping in. Research has shown that the very first time an infant is placed face down to sleep is when SIDS occurs. In addition, research has shown that three out of four of the sleep related deaths involve children sleeping in unsafe locations such as adult beds and two out of three deaths involve infants who were not sleeping on their backs.

The good news is that by providing infants with an appropriate sleep environment it is possible to greatly reduce the risk of SIDS and the risk for what researchers now call “sudden unexpected infant deaths.”

For more than fourteen years, the Welcome Newborns program has participated in a campaign to advise parents, caregivers and health care providers on safe infant sleep practices. Established in 1996, the mission of the Welcome Newborns program is to provide support to newborns and their families by identifying community resources and providing research based educational material regarding child development, caring for their child, child abuse prevention and parenting.

The Delta County Welcome Newborns program is educating new parents on their baby’s safe sleep environment. Caregivers are often unaware of risk reduction practices, such as placing babies on their backs to sleep, choosing safe bedding, keeping babies from overheating, and creating tobacco-free environments.

Research shows that half of the infants who die from sudden unexpected death do so while sleeping with their parents. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants sleep in the same room as their parents, but not in the same bed for up to one year. Most deaths occur in colder months, when heavy blankets are used, or due to overheating.

“For over ten years, as part of our efforts to reduce the number of infant deaths in Delta County, our Welcome Newborns program continues to distribute free Halo Swaddles for SIDS risk prevention. The Swaddles fit newborns between 6 and 12 pounds. It has been a long-term goal of our Welcome Newborns program to provide parents with the next size HALO Sleep Sack. Through recent funding provided by Michigan’s Children’s Trust Fund, we are now able to distribute HALO Sleep Sacks in a larger size. The larger HALO Sleep Sack will fit babies that weigh 12 to 18 pounds.” said Lannie Berg, Program Coordinator.

Available in either fleece or cotton, both newborn size and size small are now available. Designed by a parent who lost an infant to SIDS, these premium wearable blankets allow parents and caregivers to remove loose blankets from their baby’s crib and still keep the baby cozy, warm and safe throughout the night and nap time.

Every HALO Sleep Sack Swaddle and HALO Sleep Sack wearable blanket reinforces back sleeping with the message “Back is Best” embroidered on the front of each safe sleep garment.

“The free Sleep Sacks are available to all Delta County parents regardless of their income or where their baby was born” said Berg.

To learn more about SIDS Risk Prevention, or to request a free HALO Sleep Sack, contact Lannie Berg at the Welcome Newborns office located at the Community Action Agency in Escanaba. Call 906-786-7080, ext. 143 or email rolandaberg@yahoo.com.