For Immediate Release May 23, 2022

A woman and a man stand side by side with masks on. The woman is the nurse manager for the Birthing Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton and she is holding a HALO SleepSack, which is gifted to families at discharge.

From left are Angie Wicks, Nurse Manager, Birthing Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton, and Ahmed Gawad, MD, Regional Department Chair, Pediatrics, UM Shore Regional Health. Wicks is holding a custom-designed HALO SleepSack, which is gifted to new families at time of discharge.

As part of an ongoing commitment to promote infant safe sleep practices, the Birthing Center at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton has adopted the HALO SleepSack in-hospital safe sleep modeling program.

"Each year in the United States, approximately 3,500 infants die from sleep-related deaths, many of which are preventable," said Angie Wicks, Nurse Manager of the Birthing Center at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton.

The use of HALO's in-hospital safe sleep modeling program allows the Birthing Center to replace loose hospital blankets with a free, wearable blanket called a SleepSack. Recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the SleepSack is a swaddling blanket that helps babies sleep better because they stay warm as they cannot kick the blanket off. More importantly, the SleepSack wearable blanket eliminates the need for loose blankets that can cover a baby's face and interfere with breathing, and also helps reduce the risk of overheating during nap time and bedtime.

HALO supports UM SRH's in-hospital safe sleep modeling program by providing free SleepSack wearable blankets that are given to new mothers at time of discharge from the hospital. "Our goal is to increase the number of infants placed to sleep in a safe sleep environment by gifting our families with a SleepSack at discharge," Wicks said.

As parents navigate their first few days as new parents in the hospital, Birthing Center team members model safe sleep practices by showing parents how to use the SleepSack and create a safe environment for their new baby once they go home.

According to Wicks, other infant safe sleep practices include lying baby down on his or her back to sleep, and never using soft bedding, such as loose blankets, bumpers, pillows, stuffed animals and positioners in baby's sleep area. Babies could accidentally roll into these items, which could block their airflow. Bed-sharing with baby is also discouraged, including letting baby fall asleep on a couch, pillow or your chest or abdomen. Following these infant safe sleep practices can reduce the chance that baby could die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Babies who sleep on their backs, on a firm sleep surface, are less likely to die from SIDS. Keeping your baby's crib in your room to make night-time feedings easier is OK.