Colts, IU Health partner up to save newborn lives

For the next two years the Indianapolis Colts will partner with Riley Children's Health to give infants born at a IU Health Hospitals around Indiana a free sleep sack.
For the next two years the Indianapolis Colts will partner with Riley Children's Health to give infants born at a IU Health Hospitals around Indiana a free sleep sack.

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — For the next two years, the Indianapolis Colts will partner with Riley Children’s Health to give infants born at IU Health Arnett hospitals a free sleep sack to help prevent infant deaths.

Indiana has the 10th highest rate of infant deaths in America.

“Here in Lafayette, that will be probably 1,600 infants a year or more [who will receive sleep sacks],” said Jim Bien, a pediatrician with IU Health Arnett.

One of the top three causes of infant deaths is sudden infant death syndrome. To ensure safe sleep and reduce this number, parents can use a sleep sack.

Kelly and Matt Bestich are one of the first families in Lafayette to receive the sleep sack.

“Now, being a parent, it’s like you worry about everything,” Kelly Bestich said.

They said the sleep sack gives them peace of mind knowing their newborn, Isaac, will be safe.

“Just knowing that … we don’t need to put anything else in the crib with him and this is all he needs to stay warm and comfortable makes it a lot easier, and we can actually get some sound sleep ourselves,” Kelly Bestich said.

Last year in Tippecanoe County six babies died in unsafe sleeping environments.

Bien said those deaths may have been prevented using the ABCs.

“Infants need to be alone, on their back, in a crib,” Bien said. “The only cute thing in a crib needs to be the baby on their back.”

Bien said there should be no fluffy blankets, stuffed animals or bumper pads in the crib with the baby.

“Oh yeah, every night. Every night,” Kelly Bestich said when asked how often she will use the sleep sack. “And not have to worry about SIDS and all the horrible outcomes that could happen.”