Monthly Archives: March 2013

Some hospitals moving away from blankets to reduce infant deaths

March 18, 2013 3:00 pm  •  By Paul Swiech |

BLOOMINGTON — Eloise Yaklich was crying as her father placed his 1-day-old daughter on her back into a sleep sack. He zipped up the front, folded one wing of the wearable blanket over his daughter’s torso, then the opposite wing, and secured that wing to the garment using Velcro.

“There you go. Comfy as you can be,” said Barb Powell, a registered nurse in the Birthing Center of OSF St. Joseph Medical Center, Bloomington, who instructed Matt Yaklich on wrapping his daughter in the wearable blanket.

Eloise stopped crying.

“You like it, don’t you?” Powell asked. “It really is amazing how infants settle down.”

Soon Eloise was asleep.

Without realizing it, Eloise, on Feb. 26, had illustrated a value of the latest fashion in infant sleepwear, which also is the latest tool in the ongoing effort to reduce sudden unexplained infant death, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Wearable blankets — in this case, a HALOSleepSack — are a trend, as more hospitals are replacing traditional receiving blankets with wearable blankets, obstetrics nurses said.

“We’re seeing more and more hospitals use them,” said Nancy Maruyama, a registered nurse and executive director of SIDS of Illinois.

“Parents will model the behavior they see in the hospitals, so if the nurses use it, parents will be more likely to follow the trend when they bring their newborns home,” Maruyama said.

“It (the sleep sack) stays in place, it’s safe and warm and the infant feels comforted,” Powell said as she and Matt and Megan Yaklich watched Eloise sleep safely and soundly on her back. “It really is a grand invention.

“And there’s the reminder on the front,” Powell said, pointing to the message on the front of the garment to remind caregivers that “back is best” to reduce the risk of sudden infant death when putting an infant down for sleep.

“This is definitely easier,” said Megan, a Normal resident who has two older daughters, Madalyn, 8, and Sophia, 5.

“The traditional blanket method is more of an art,” Matt said of nurses who know how to swaddle infants into receiving blankets. “This takes the guess work out of it.

“We’ll use it,” he said of the sleep sack that was given to them by St. Joseph.

Central Illinois hospitals are among those transitioning from traditional receiving blankets to wearable blankets.

St. Joseph, since March 2010, has trained new parents in using a HALOSleepSack and has given a sleep sack to families, along with safe sleep tips, said Renell Composto, a registered nurse and director of the Birthing Center.

The sleep sacks are a gift from a medical center auxiliary, which has spent $15,000 on the project in the past three years, Composto said. Wearable blankets also are offered for sale in the auxiliary gift shop for $17.95, she said.

Furthermore, OSF Healthcare System — including St. Joseph and OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center in Pontiac — is considering eliminating receiving blankets altogether and replacing them with wearable blankets, said Composto and Cindy Eimer, a registered nurse and Saint James’ director of obstetrics.

Advocate Health Care also is investigating sleep sacks systemwide and Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal will move from receiving blankets to sleep sacks in May, said Stephanie Wollenberg, registered nurse and Advocate BroMenn’s clinical nurse manager of obstetrics.

Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital in Lincoln also is considering transitioning to sleep sacks.

The move to sleep sacks is supported by SIDS of Illinois, Maruyama said, and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a blanket-free sleep setting for infants because of the risk of blankets covering an infant’s face, suffocating the child. “Infants can’t push a blanket away from their face,” Maruyama said.

Thus, wearable blankets, or sleep sacks, are the best way to keep children warm and safe, nurses said. Sleep sacks still have room for infants to move their legs.

Wearable blankets — which come in different sizes and retail for $20 to $30 — should be worn for sleep for at least the first year of life, Maruyama said. By then, children are old enough to pull blankets off their face or push themselves away from danger.

*Courtesy of:

National Poison Prevention Week: Medication Safety

We just released new findings about keeping kids safe around medicine, and the results may surprise you. Every parent knows to keep medicine up and away from children, but kids are still getting into medicine at an alarming rate. (500,000 calls to poison control centers last year!) We talked to moms to find out what’s going on and crafted new tips for you.

The Hard Facts

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning. Every year, more than 67,000 children go to an emergency room for medicine poisoning. That’s one child every eight minutes.  Almost all of these visits are because the child got into medicines while their parent or caregiver wasn’t looking.

Top Tips

  • Put medicines up and away and out of sight. 

    Make sure that all medicines, including vitamins and adult medicines, are stored out of reach and out of sight of children. (In 86% of emergency room visits for medicine poisoning, the child got into medicine belonging to an adult.)

  • Consider places where kids get into medicine.

    Kids get into medication in all sorts of places, like in purses and nightstands.   (In 67% of cases, the medicine was within reach of a child, such as in a purse, left on a counter or dresser or found on the ground.)

  • Consider products you might not think about as medicines.

    Most parents know to store medicine up and away – or at least the products they consider to be medicine. But they don’t always think about products such as diaper rash remedies or eye drops, which may not seem like medicine but can cause harm.

  • Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine.

    Proper dosing is important, particularly for young children. Use the dosing device that comes with the medicine. Kitchen spoons aren’t all the same, and a teaspoon and tablespoon used for cooking won’t measure the same amount as the dosing device.

  • Put the toll-free number for the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) into your home and cell phone.

    You should also post it near your phone or on your refrigerator for the babysitter. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but it’s nice to have just in case.

Learn More

Medication safety is especially important for children under 5, but every parent will want to learn all they can about medication safety.  Here are some additional tips to help you out. 


2013 7News Boston Medical Center Health & Fitness Expo

Hynes Convention Center
June 22 and 23
10am – 5pm

BOSTON (WHDH) — Channel 7’s free Health and fitness Expo has been a hit from the beginning, with 70,000 people turning out each year for health screenings and fitness exams. Plus, the chance to meet Channel 7 personalities and more.
Now plans are under way to make the sixth health fair the best one yet.
“I think the exciting part of that is that you can go in and you can ask any doctor any question and they’re doing screening for things that you wouldn’t normally get screened for and the fact that it’s free and there’s this wealth of information is what gets people the most excited.”
Boston Medical Center is Channel 7’s partner for the health fair and it’s the perfect partner for this unique event.
“We’re now going to bring health and fitness information to the general public to the greater Boston community and really partner to showcase what can be done, how we keep people healthy.”
Dr. Ravin Davidoff is Boston medical Center’s chief medical officer. BMC not only offers state of the art robotic surgery and cancer care but also set up the first in the nation hospital based food pantry.
Putting people first, BMC lives up to its motto of providing ‘exceptional care without exception.’
“We always have fun. That’s what this place is really about, bringing enthusiasm and energy. That will really be felt at the expo. We will bring that enthusiasm and energy and commitment to the patient. We’ll bring lots of excited people who are really leaders and thinkers in this world in the health care world. And that’s what we’ll bring to the health and fitness expo.”
Making health care accessible and even ‘fun’ is what the free Health and Fitness Expo is all about.
Watch The Dish live or even try your hand at being a 7News sports anchor or weather person.
Bringing health care to the people and letting viewers enjoy 7News in more hands on way is a winning combination.
“I know I bring my kids every year and they love it because they get their face painted but they also get their blood pressure checked. So with that combination of things I think it’s a more relaxed environment for people, much more conversational. So they can choose what they want to participate in.”
Mark your calendar for June 22 and 23 at the Hynes Convention Center. The health fair will be here before you know it.
(Copyright (c) 2013 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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BMC Educates on the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In response to carbon monoxide poisoning deaths in the city of Boston, we wanted to take this opportunity to inform you about the dangers of carbon monoxide to help prevent further tragedies.  Please share our video.  For more information, please contact Boston Trauma’s Injury Prevention Coordinator, Lisa Allee, MSW, LICSW,



Team BMC for the Boston Marathon: Help Support Our Mission!

Team BMC is running the Boston Marathon in support of Boston Medical Center. Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, 508-bed, academic medical center located in Boston’s historic South End. The hospital is the primary teaching affiliate for Boston University School of Medicine. Boston Medical Center emphasizes community-based care, with its mission to provide consistently accessible health services to all. The largest safety net hospital in New England, Boston Medical Center provides a full spectrum of pediatric and adult care services, from primary to family medicine to advanced specialty care. With the largest 24-hour Level I trauma center in New England, our Emergency Department had 131,288 visits last year.

Team BMC helps raise awareness of Boston Medical Center’s mission and supports the hospital’s ability to offer the necessary services and programs to meet patients’ needs. Some of the exceptional programs at Boston Medical Center include: The Kids Fund, Cancer Support Services Fund, the Preventive Food Pantry & Demonstration Kitchen, Nutrition and Fitness for Life and so many more.

Distracted Driving: More of a problem in the United States than in Europe

A woman driving and texting

Take steps to be safe on the road. Start by practicing good driving habits. Don’t text and drive.

Have you ever read or sent a text message while driving and then had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting another car? Or have you missed an exit or turn because you were distracted by a phone call? It only takes seconds for a crash to happen. Distracted driving makes crashes all the more likely.

Talking, texting, and reading email behind the wheel may be more of a problem in the United States than in Europe. A recent CDC study compared the percentage of distracted drivers in the United States and seven European countries: Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Overall, the study found that a higher percentage of U.S. drivers talked on the phone and read or sent emails or texts while driving than drivers in several other European countries. For example, the study found that 69 percent of U.S. drivers ages 18-64 years old reported that they had talked on their cell phone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed, compared to drivers from the United Kingdom.

The study also found that about one-third of drivers in the United States reported that they had read or sent text messages or emails while driving, compared to just 15 percent of drivers from Spain.

Distracted Driving in the United States: a Problem on the Rise

Each day, more than nine people are killed and 1,060 more are injured in crashes that involve a distracted driver. Consider that:

  • In 2011, 3,331 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver compared to 3,267 in 2010.
  • In 2011, 387,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.
  • In 2010, “distraction” was reported as being a factor in nearly one in five crashes (18 percent) in which someone was injured.
  • In June 2011, more than 196 billion text messages were sent or received in the United States, up nearly 50 percent from June 2009.

Distracted driving increases your chance of being in a crash. It involves doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving

There are three main types of distraction:

  • Visual─taking your eyes off the road,
  • Manual─taking your hands off the wheel, and
  • Cognitive─taking your mind off of driving.

Distracted driving activities include using a cell phone, texting, and eating. Using in-vehicle technologies (such as navigation systems) can also be sources of distraction. While any of these can endanger the driver and others, texting while driving is especially dangerous because it combines all three types of distractions.

Chart: Self-reported cell phone use while driving in the past 30 days by age group, United States, 2010.

Chart: Self-reported texting/emailing while driving in the past 30 days among drivers ages 18 and older, United States, 2010.

Take Steps to Be Safe

There are several things you can do to keep yourself and others safe on the road:

Steps for all drivers:

  • Model safe behavior behind the wheel—never text and drive.
  • Always stay focused and alert when driving.
  • Take the pledge—commit to distraction-free driving.
  • Speak out if the driver in your car is distracted.
  • Encourage your friends and family to designate their cars a “no phone” zone when driving.
  • Spread the word—get involved in promoting safe driving in your community.

Steps for parents of teen drivers:

  • Know and obey the laws in your state. Many states have Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws that include cell phone and texting bans for young drivers.
  • Discuss what it means to be a safe driver with your teen and set ground rules for when they are behind the wheel.
  • Make a family pledge and have other members in your family commit to distraction-free driving.
  • Set a positive example for your teen by putting your cell phone away every time you drive.

CDC is committed to saving lives and protecting people from injury and violence.

For more information about distracted driving, please visit

*Courtesy of Center for Disease Control and Prevention

Spring Break Health and Safety Tips

Spring Break Health and Safety Tips

Make this year’s spring break memorable by having fun and helping yourself, your friends, and others stay safe and healthy.

Be active.


You’ve probably been sitting most of the year working at the computer, studying, or in class. During the break, take the opportunity to start a fitness program. Do a variety of fun activities like walking, dancing, playing volleyball, swimming, and more. It doesn’t need to be hard to be beneficial. Avoid injury by starting any new activity slowly. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Include activities that raise your breathing and heart rates and that strengthen your muscles.

Adding Physical Activity to Your Life

Plan a successful trip.


If you are going on a trip, be prepared. Are vaccinations required? Are there special food, destination, or other things you need to consider ahead of time? If you are taking medications, do you have enough for the trip? Know what’s happening en route or at your travel destination.

Air Travel and Cruise ShipsTravelers’ HealthWhat Vaccines Do You Need?Spring Break Travel Safety (Bureau of Consular Affairs)

Watch your step.


There may be temptations on your break that involve different or high-risk activity. Think twice before putting yourself at risk for injury. Be sure to use appropriate safety gear before venturing out, such as seat belts, life vests, or knee pads. Remember that unintentional injuries kill more Americans in their first three decades of life than any other cause of death. In fact, injuries (both unintentional and those caused by acts of violence) are among the top ten killers for Americans of all ages.

Injury TopicsWater-Related Injuries

Know the ropes.


When swimming and boating, know what’s expected and what you can do to prevent injury or death for yourself and others. Know how to swim. Wear your life jacket while boating. Avoid alcoholic beverages while boating. Complete a boating education course. Participate in the vessel safety check program.

Six Steps of Healthy SwimmingWater-Related Injuries

Protect yourself from the sun.


After a cold winter, it’s tempting to stay in the hot sun all day. Although getting a little sun can have some benefits, excessive and unprotected sun exposure can result in premature aging, changes in skin texture, and skin cancer. Always wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15. For eye protection, wear wraparound sunglasses that provide 100 percent UV ray protection.

Skin Cancer Prevention: Questions and Answer

Eat healthy.


Having fun takes energy and fuel. Be sure to eat a variety of foods, including plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. Also include low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish, and legumes. Drink lots of water and go easy on the salt, sugar, alcohol, and saturated fat. Good nutrition should be part of an overall healthy lifestyle, including regular physical activity, not smoking, and stress management.

Nutrition for Everyone