Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley launches program to help babies sleep safer

Akron Children’s program promotes safe sleep for babies

New sleep sack program promotes safe sleep


Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley is one of the first hospitals in the area to incorporate the HALO® Safer Way to Sleep® program.

The charge behind HALO’s Safer Way to Sleep® initiative is to keep all babies in Akron Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Elizabeth Health Center and at Akron Children’s special care nursery located on the Beeghly campus in Boardman, safe and warm while they sleep and to model safe sleep practices for parents. This is in keeping with the American Academy of Pediatrics’ revised safe sleep guidelines to suggest the use of wearable blankets instead of loose blankets as a way to help reduce the risk of accidental suffocation.

According to Mary Ellen Michael, nurse manager of Akron Children’s NICU and special care nursery, the hospital will reach approximately 500 babies in the units. The hospital’s focus on wearable blankets not only comforts and stabilizes sleeping babies in the nursery, but it also eliminates loose blankets in bassinets.

“We’re always looking for new ways to continue improving Akron Children’s quality of care for patients, and our partnership with HALO Innovations ensures our babies are sleeping safely from the start,” said Michael. “Our nurses already educate new parents on how to properly position and set up a safe sleep environment for their newborn, and the use of this wearable blanket in our hospital is another way to demonstrate safe sleep practices to parents.”

The $1,750 needed to purchase the HALO SleepSacks was provided from a portion of the dollars raised during the Mix 98.9 Miracles and Promises Radiothon to benefit Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley. This donation will enable all patients in the neonatal units the opportunity to take his or her own HALO SleepSack Swaddle home, along with a packet of information for new parents about important safe sleep practices.

“HALO Innovations is pleased to partner with Akron Children’s to provide a product that keeps sleeping babies safe, gives parents peace of mind and makes safe swaddling of newborns easier,” said Bill Schmid, founder of HALO Innovations. “Our mission is to significantly decrease the number of babies lost to SIDS each year, and we believe our HALO SleepSack wearable blankets along with education on safe sleep practices are helping fight this battle.”

More than 1,000 hospitals across the country are currently using HALO SleepSack wearable blankets in their neonatal units or nurseries, gifting them to new moms or selling the product in hospital gift shops. A percentage of all HALO SleepSack product sales go directly to First Candle/SIDS Alliance and the Canadian Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths.

For more information about Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley, visit

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