Riley, Colts Sleep Sack Initiative Aimed at Decreasing State’s Alarming Number of Infant Deaths

INDIANAPOLIS— Riley Children’s at Indiana University Health and the Indianapolis Colts have partnered to provide sleep sack swaddles to parents of babies born at Indiana University Health hospitals across the state in an effort to reduce Indiana’s high infant mortality rate.

When used properly, sleep sacks ensure safe sleep and reduce the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, one of the top three causes of infant death in Indiana and nationwide. Sudden infant death syndrome is the sudden, unexpected death of an infant. SIDS most commonly occurs within a period of sleep. According to the CDC, about 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States. Riley Children’s Health, part of the IU Health system, is a nationally recognized leader in pediatric care.

“We believe infant mortality is a profoundly important concern that needs attention now,” said Matthew Cook, president of Riley Children’s Health. “By providing parents with tools and education on safe sleeping for infants, we can save countless young lives across the state of Indiana.”

A sleep sack is a blanket swaddle that replaces loose blankets in the crib, which can cover a baby’s face and cause breathing problems. Sleep sacks help keep a baby warm and can soothe a fussy baby by providing a sense of security. Swaddling newborns often helps them sleep longer by preventing sudden movements that can cause them to wake.

Riley Children’s Health encourages parents to follow the ABCs of safe sleep: All by myself, on my Back, in my Crib. By teaching families how to practice safe sleep habits, Riley Children’s Health and the Indianapolis Colts aim to increase positive outcomes for Hoosier babies.

“As a mother of three young daughters, the importance of safe sleeping is very near and dear to my heart,” said Carlie Irsay-Gordon, Colts Vice Chair/Owner. “My family and the entire Colts organization are honored to be able to launch this initiative alongside Riley Children’s Health as we strive to reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate and provide vital resources for parents throughout our state.”

Starting today, parents of babies born at any of the seven IU Health birthing hospitals across the state will receive one Riley Children’s Health/Indianapolis Colts sleep sack, along with educational handouts outlining safe sleep.