Mommy’s Little Helpers
3235 Eastlake Blvd., PMB 7
Carson City NV 89704
Product: Guardian Sleeper
Carol Betz 775-230-0178
Nicola Pieters 775-742-1895
Nicola Pieters and Carol Betz are two British moms, now residing in the US. Each struggled with fertility issues and then, upon becoming mothers, worked together to design the Guardian Sleeper. This blanket not only stays in place while swaddling the baby to increase sleep duration but more importantly maintains the baby in the correct sleeping position to reduce the triggers for apnea and therefore the danger of SIDS as prescribed by the American Association of SIDS Prevention Physicians and the American SIDS Institute. Nicola and Carol now need assistance in getting this product to market. Their vision is to empower moms with the knowledge and resource to reduce the danger of SIDS.
Nicola Pieters and Carol Betz met in Washoe Valley, a rural community in Northern Nevada near Carson City in 1999. Nicola moved to the US in 1996 after meeting her husband who was stationed at a US air force base near her home in the UK. Carol moved to the US in 1985 looking for adventure after being offered a job in California. Their paths crossed when Nicola and her husband opened a deli in Washoe Valley, where Carol now lived after meeting her husband while in the area on business. Once they both had babies who were born a couple of months apart, the friendship began in earnest and immediately blossomed.
By this time, the Deli had been sold and Nicola’s husband, now in the Air National Guard, had been activated to serve his country. Carol and Nicola had both been through their own personal struggles to become mothers and were determined to find a way to stay home with their babies. Nicola had suffered through years of not conceiving followed by two miscarriages. Austin made it eight months in the womb to be born prematurely but healthy. Carol went through many years of infertility and infertility treatments and surgeries. It was an expensive and fruitless endeavor. After a failed adoption, she decided her heart could not take another disappointment but when 4 week old Jessica came along, she and her husband could not say no. After a long and difficult path, Jessica was legally adopted in 2004, nearly 2 years later.
Both moms had ideas for products that could help other moms feel safer and more secure in their parenting experience. With the help of a friend in England, Richard Byrne, an international patent attorney, they designed, developed a prototype and filed a patent for the Guardian Sleeper. With additional legal support in the US, the patent has now been approved and should be issued by March 2007.
As new moms, both Carol and Nicola were frustrated by the lack of availability of a blanket which would stay in place overnight. As they started to discuss the shortfalls of the existing products on the market, the idea of the Guardian Sleeper came to fruition. As the idea developed, it became clear that not only would the sleeper stay over the baby to keep him/her warm but it would also maintain the baby in the correct sleeping position to reduce the danger of SIDS. With a new vision to empower moms with the knowledge and the resource to reduce the triggers for apnea and therefore the danger of SIDS, they sought input from a variety of SIDS institutions, hospitals, pediatricians and obstetricians as well as other mothers.
The sleeper underwent testing in medical institutions and in homes and received accolades. It was also presented at the National SIDS Alliance conference in 2005. When the sleeper was tested by local moms, a new serendipity was discovered…. the sleeper swaddles the baby in the soft harness promoting increased sleep duration. The first test candidate, Mason, went from a 2 hour interval between feeds at night to a 6 hour interval.
A highly respected local pediatrician was so taken with the product that she immediately procured one for her niece and cannot wait to introduce it to the National Pediatric Association. She feels that this product should be used in every home and every hospital. She stated that she believes that , just as education and the required use of infant car seats has taken accidents off the top of leading causes of infant death, with education and the consistent use of the Guardian Sleeper , SIDS can soon be removed as the leading cause of death in infants 1 month to 1 year of age.
Other medical research also showed that the sleeper will not only assist in reducing the risk of SIDS but will also be an invaluable resource to mothers whose babies have reflux or congestion, as the Guardian Sleeper holds the baby in place on the crib mattress even when it is angled. One pediatrician in a test environment said she could not imagine herself not giving the sleeper out daily.