Nationwide trend's goal is to lose the blankets in a baby's bed - KCTV5 News

Nationwide trend's goal is to lose the blankets in a baby's bed

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Learning how to wrap a new baby into a nice little swaddle is a talent, but that new parent tradition may become a thing of the past.

It's a nationwide trend and Children's Mercy Hospital is just the latest with the goal of going blanket-free.

"One thing we get concerned about is loose blankets in the bed," said Dr. Kristin Voos.

Baby Samantha is a little patient in Children's Mercy's neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU. The hospital is the latest in the Kansas City metro to make the switch to sleep sacks.

"This is nice because it keeps her warm, but it will not become a loose blanket in the bed," Voos said.

Voos was thrilled to hear the American Academy of Pediatric recommendation that hospitals follow suit with rules new parents have been taught for years now - to lose the baby blankets and switch to a sleep sack. The sleep sacks cut down on the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, a heartbreaking condition that in 2009 took the lives of 71 babies in Missouri alone.

"It absolutely breaks your heart. Sadly there are a lot of things in medicine and in life that you cannot prevent, but when something happens unnecessarily, it's just such a waste," she said. "It just hurts so badly because it's something that didn't have to happen - to watch what that baby and family go through."

Voos said there are times when regular receiving blankets will still be used to swaddle the infants at hospitals like Children's Mercy, but it'll only be by doctor's orders. Hospital officials want to remind people that if they're still swaddling to only cover their baby from the shoulders down with nothing near or above the neck and to not do it past the age of 3 months.

The transition to sleep sacks won't happen overnight at Children's Mercy. Voos said the staff has undergone training on how to properly use and care for the sleep sacks and special arrangements have been made for cleaning them.

It'll be a transition, but doctors agree it's a good one.

"That's the goal hospital-wide. When they come into the hospital, any baby under 12 months will be in a safe sleep environment with a wearable blanket instead of blankets in bed," Voos said.

Sleep sacks aren't cheap. They cost anywhere from $20 to $30 each. Children's Mercy is hoping to eventually get a grant to send parents with little babies home with one.

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