A Halo for Haley – Active-Airflow Mattress Helps Prevent SIDS

May 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Air Quality, Babies, Blog, Engineers, Events, Front Page, Homes, SIDS, Slideshow

Update 8/23/09: This product is currently unavailable, as the manufacturer has discontinued production. If this turns out to be a temporary situation, I will update this post as soon as I learn about it. If you are as disappointed as others who have written to us, consider voicing your concern directly to HALO Innovations — but only if you truly would purchase one of their crib mattresses if it were available. — Publisher

When a baby dies from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), the parents are beyond devastated. The loss of a child — at any age — is a pain that never goes away, no matter how much time passes. With 2,500 SIDS deaths in the U.S. alone each year, chances are that you or someone you know has experienced this tragic loss.

After Bill and Cathy Schmid’s tiny daughter, Haley, died of SIDS in 1991, they wanted answers. What they learned was that Haley likely suffocated in her own exhalations when her tiny arms cradled her face as she slept. While oxygen deprivation doesn’t explain all SIDS deaths, Bill, an engineer, was determined to find a way to prevent that particular cause from ever taking another baby’s life.

The Active-Airflow Crib Mattress helps save babies from SIDS.

The Active-Airflow Crib Mattress helps save babies from SIDS. Photo: © Rob - Fotolia

He invented a crib mattress that allowed fresh air to flow up through the surface to the baby, providing a constant, gentle supply of fresh air. While the idea was good, there were problems that he hadn’t yet solved. The mattress was heavy and hard for a parent to lift without help. And it was difficult to clean. He sold a few mattresses to parents who were eager to prevent a SIDS tragedy from happening to their child. But sales were not brisk, and Bill was not satisfied with his invention.

So, Bill contacted Steve Kunert, a brilliant mechanical engineer, whose specialty is solving problems and refining inventions to get them ready for the market. Steve worked with Bill to improve his invention. The result is the HALO Innovations Active-Airflow Crib Mattress.

A small fan provides gentle, filtered air up through a woven, trampoline-like mattress, stretched taut and covered with a tightly fitted mattress pad. This keeps fresh, HEPA-filtered air circulating around the infant, preventing the build up of carbon dioxide around the baby’s face. The mattress is lightweight and lifts off the base for easy cleaning inside and out. The bed conforms to all safety regulations and exceeds the fire regulations for cribs. As an added benefit, the soft hum of the fan motor provides the baby with white noise that helps lull it to sleep.

The HALO Innovations Active-Airflow Crib Mattress

The HALO Innovations Active-Airflow Crib Mattress. Photo Courtesy: HALO Innovations

In a future post, writer Katie Roche will blog about the Active-Airflow Crib Mattress, to review it from a first-hand, parent’s perspective. But I am writing to tell you about it today for two reasons. The first, and most important, is to share this life-saving invention with parents and grandparents who have babies in their families. The second is a more personal one. Joe and I have been working with Steve Kunert on a contest entry at Intuit, to share useful ideas with small businesses. We’re collaborating with Steve in hopes that he wins, of course, but, most importantly, our goal is to spread the word about this wonderful invention that can prevent infant mortality and give parents peace of mind.

If you’d like to see the contest video — and consider voting for Steve’s entry (which has two silent “extras” you may recognize: Joe and me), please go to Halo for Haley on the Intuit site. You’ll have to register in order to vote. And you can vote in multiple categories (Inspiring and Useful), if you wish. Since 40% of the weighting depends on votes, your votes will definitely help.

As to the prize money — first prize is $25,000  — if Steve’s video wins, he will use the funds to help independent inventors launch new products. Joe and I are part of his support team.

The voting closes on May 31, so please view the video and vote, if you wish, while you’re thinking about it. Thank you.

NOTE from the HALO website: “A percentage of all HALO profits are donated to First Candle/SIDS Alliance to fund ongoing SIDS research, education and family support.”

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page


3 Responses to “A Halo for Haley – Active-Airflow Mattress Helps Prevent SIDS”

  1. Sarah Cain on August 10th, 2009 2:34 pm

    There has been a lot of suppressed information regarding SIDS, including the toxic gases that most mattresses give out. Mattresses were laced with Arsenic, Antimony, and Phosphorus beginning in the 1950’s – to make them flame retardant. I wrote about it here:


  2. Julia Wasson on August 10th, 2009 3:51 pm

    Hi Sarah.

    Thank you for sharing the link to your article about SIDS. I had not heard of the Vitamin C connection that you describe in your post. It’s certainly worth investigating.
    The chemicals added to mattresses are truly shocking. There’s so much we citizens don’t know about the products we use every day. That’s why it’s critically important that we support the groups who have the staff and expertise to do the research for us — and fight for legislation to protect us all (such as the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act.


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