Fifty-two years ago today, my older sister was born. She was the second baby for my parents and their first girl. They named her Kathryn Jeanette and she joined my oldest brother and parents in their tiny home in Nebraska. Just 7 short months later, on June 6, 1959, my sister died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
When I had my own kids I feared something similar would happen to them. We were probably more hyper-aware than most since we knew the trauma a SIDS death can cause in a family. We were extremely careful about how we placed the boys in their crib, what was around it that could be pulled into it, and all the other facets of keeping our children as safe as we could. Unfortunately, even with all these safeguards, there was no guarantee that the same tragedy couldn’t happen to us. But we were lucky. Our boys are now adults – happy and healthy.
Knowing how to put your child to bed and what items to keep from the crib are invaluable. Additionally, some specialized products made especially for this purpose can be helpful. When Bill Schmid, the founder of HALO® was looking for folks to check out his infant sleeping product and promote National SIDS Awareness Month (observed in October) I jumped at the chance. I’m always happy to promote anything that can help keep kids safer and I think it’s important information that should be shared year round.
I was touched by Bill’s own story. He lost his daughter to SIDS in 1991. Because of his own personal loss, he began a journey to develop products that encourage healthier and safer sleeping which would ultimately help reduce parents anxiety. What he came up with was the HALO® SleepSack®. The SleepSack® is wearable blanket that replaces loose blankets in the crib that can cover your baby’s face and may interfere with breathing. It also means your little one can’t kick off her blankets and may help her sleep through the night.
HALO is also working with hundreds of hospitals nationwide via their Safer Way to Sleep® Initiative. Its purpose is to educate parents on safe sleep practices and provide HALO SleepSack wearable blankets to NICU and hospital nurseries to model safe sleep practices. Additionally, a percentage of HALO Innovations’ profits are donated to charities that help in the fight against SIDS. I have to imagine that this is tough work for Bill, being reminded every day of the loss of his precious daughter. But to think of the good he’s doing is amazing. It’s in this spirit, and in my sister’s memory, that I’m proud to recommend the HALO® SleepSack® for infants. Can I promise nothing will happen to your sweet baby if she’s wearing one? No, sadly sometimes no matter what precautions are taken, little ones leave us much too soon, but I can promise that if you do everything you can to prevent it, you’ll feel better knowing that you did. And, know that since 2005, the American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested the use of wearable blankets to reduce the risk of SIDS.
The SleepSacks come in an amazing array of styles, prints, and fabrics. I love that there are Disney licensed Sleepsacks – my favorite, which should be no surprise, is the pink princess model. But I love the old-school Mickey and Pooh as well. But my personal choice, the one that my soon-to-be-born great nephew will be receiving from me, is their 4-piece 100% Organic Cotton Take-Me-Home Safety Sets (free of chemicals, dyes and preservative).
Because they’re meant as sleepwear they do have flame retardants impregnated in the material (with the exception of the organic). As the wife of a fire fighter, I have to do my public service announcement and remind parents that there should always be a WORKING smoke detector in every room, including your child’s bedroom. Renters should provide their own if the landlord doesn’t. Reliable detectors are less than $20 and can alert you to a fire in your child’s room long before the one usually located in the hallway outside can.
Bill sent me a SleepSack to check out and I have to tell you it’s adorable. So soft, very well made, and designed to be comfortable. It’s a gift I’ll be proud to give. He also provided me with the following information on how to put your baby to bed safely. You can download a brochure with this information for your caregiver here.
Safe Sleep Practices for Infants
- Place baby to sleep on his or her back at naptime and at night time.
- Use a crib that meets current safety standards with a firm mattress that fits snuggly and is covered with only a tight-fitting crib sheet.
- Remove all soft bedding and toys from your baby’s sleep area (this includes loose blankets, bumpers and positioners). The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests using a wearable blanket instead of loose blankets to keep your baby warm.
- Offer a pacifier when putting baby to sleep. If breastfeeding, introduce pacifier after one month or after breastfeeding has been established.
- Breastfeed, if possible, but when finished, put your baby back to sleep in his or her separate safe sleep area alongside your bed.
- Never put your baby to sleep on any soft surface (adult beds, sofas, chairs, water beds, quilts, sheep skins etc.)
- Never dress your baby too warmly for sleep; keep room temperature 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Never allow anyone to smoke around your baby or take your baby into a room or car where someone has recently smoked.
How wonderful is it that Bill and people like him are trying to make a difference by working to eliminate some of the causes of SIDS. Millions of babies will benefit.
The SleepSack is available at Target, Diapers.com, Amazon.com, BabiesRUs, and other fine retailers. It’s notw on my must-give list for expectant parents.
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Photo Credit: HALO Innovations, Inc[Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”]