WBAMC provides newborn blanket to minimize SIDS
Karson Winters, son of Army Spc. Samiya Winters and Spc. Deshau Winters, naps while wrapped with a safe sleep blanket, a toe-to-neck zip-up blanket designed to help newborns stay warm while reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, at William Beaumont Army Medical Center. (U.S. Army photo by Marcy Sanchez)
EL PASO, Texas — William Beaumont Army Medical Center, as part of its Healthy Baby Campaign, began issuing a safe sleep blanket, a toe-to-neck zip-up blanket with cutoff sleeves, designed to help newborns stay warm while reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome for all newborn babies, recently.
“When babies roll over they might pull the blanket over their head, and can’t get the blanket off, increasing the risk for suffocation,” said Dr. Stacey Frazier, chief, Inpatient Pediatrics, WBAMC. “The blanket keeps the baby from being able to pull over their face so the baby can stay warm and sleep comfortably in their cribs.”
According to the American Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Institute, there are about 4,000 sleep-related infant deaths occurring each year in the United States. Asphyxiation, or accidental suffocation, caused by loose blankets or items that may fully or partially obstruct the airway from oxygen is included in the sleep-related SIDS figures.
The first safe sleep blanket was issued to newborn Karson Winters, son of Army Spcs. Samiya and Deshau Winters.
“(The safe sleep blanket) was a big help to me,” said first-time mom, Samiya, aviation operations specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Armored Division. “I went to sleep without worrying that he’d suffocate himself.”
During her second night at WBAMC’s post-partum ward, Samiya, said she tried swaddling Karson with a regular blanket but kept having to wake up to check on him and swaddle again.
“At one point he had the (regular) blanket over his nose and it scared me,” said Samiya. “With the (safe sleep blanket), he would still move his arms but that’s normal. He didn’t have the loose blanket and in danger of suffocating himself.”
“If you use a (regular) blanket to swaddle, the baby can work their way out of them and then it’s a loose blanket,” said Frazier.
Other recommendations to reduce the risk of SIDS include placing a newborn on a firm, flat surface, avoiding soft surfaces such as adult beds, sofas, chairs, and quilts, and avoiding smoking near the baby.
The safe sleep blanket also allows for movement of legs and prevents infant hip dysplasia, an instability or looseness of the hip joint which is sometimes caused by swaddling too tight.
“We want babies to be able to move their legs, it’s good for their hip development,” said Frazier. “If you swaddle too tightly, the hips may not develop normally, this is safer because their legs are free to move and still keeping them warm.”
Each newborn at WBAMC is now being issued a safe sleep blanket for parents to take home with them.
“We’re promoting the safe sleep regimen we want parents to use at home and setting them up for success,” said Frazier.
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