Riley Children’s Health and the Indiana Colts team up for sleep safe initiative


By Heather Collins

Riley Children’s Health and the Indianapolis Colts have announced their partnership for the sleep safe initiative to help reduce unnecessary infant deaths and increase positive outcomes for Hoosier babies.

Matthew Cook, president of Riley Children’s Health, Kalen Jackson, vice chair and wwner of the Indianapolis Colts and Dr. Jerome Adams, State Health Commissioner for the Indiana State Dept. of Health, made the announcement on Oct. 12 at IU Health North Hospital.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3,500 infants die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the U.S.  Indiana has the 10th highest infant mortality rate in the U.S.

“We have the power, the power through partnership to change this,” Adams said.

When used properly, newly introduced sleep sacks ensure safe sleep for newborns and will help to reduce the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The sleep sack is a blanket swaddle, and can be used to replace the use of loose blankets, which can be hazardous and potentially fatal for newborn babies.

During the announcement, representatives of IU Health and the Indianapolis Colts, as well as, the State Health Commissioner expressed the importance of following the new ABC guidelines of safe sleeping for babies.

“Alone, on their Back, in their Crib,” Adams said.

The presentation also included a live demonstration of how to properly use the sleep sack featuring the newborn baby of local parents Lera and Franklin Roe. Colts cheerleaders and Blue, the Indianapolis Colts mascot, were also in attendance to help raise awareness for the sleep safe initiative.

Beginning this month, Riley’s Children Heath and the Indianapolis Colts have partnered to fund the sleep sacks and will provide one free sleep sack for every baby born at an IU Health in the next two years. The sleeps sacks will feature the Indianapolis Colts and Riley’s Children’s Health logos.

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