Victorian hospital pioneers use of newborn swaddling sleep sacks

Wrapping a wriggly newborn is one of the first things we’re taught in Australian hospitals, post-birth. We’re told it reduces startle reflexes, and will help our babies sleep longer (yes, please!). But a Victorian hospital is pioneering a swaddle changing-of-the-guard – becoming the first in the nation to adopt the use of a unique swaddle-sleep sack hybrid. 

Seeing a sweetly sleeping swaddled newborn is enough to convince most parents that the time-honoured technique of wrapping is a godsend. The Mercy Hospital for Women, in the north-west Melbourne suburb of Heidelberg, has just completed a trial of a unique baby swaddle called the Halo SleepSack Swaddle. It’s proved so popular with new parents that it’s been adopted permanently in the maternity ward.

The Halo is already being used in North America, with the ultimate aim of reducing the risk of SIDS. It looks a lot like a sleeping bag, and has holes which allow the baby’s arms to remain free. The hospital says the HALO also reduces the pressure on the baby’s hips, and makes for easy nappy changes with a zip or press stud option. It was designed by a US engineer who lost his child to SIDS.


The Halo was introduced to the Mercy by Cindy Davenport from Safe Sleep Space, who used to work at the hospital as a midwife. She says, “They are a lot better, because it means the babies are sleeping in a safer environment. The sleep sack replaces loose blankets in the cot that can cover a baby’s face and interfere with breathing.

“I honestly think this will be used across Australia and will change the way we swaddle children.”

The hospital says that most participants in the trial said the Halo helped settle their babies, and that their newborns were sleeping safely.

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