Mom Who Lost Baby to SIDS Believes This Could Have Saved His Life

Kipp Roberts
Jana Roberts

Jana Roberts and her husband, Grant, suffered an unspeakable loss on June 29, 2017, when their 9-week-old son Kipp died of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It’s been nearly a year since his passing, and Jana still sometimes finds herself crying in parking lots. “I have to collect my thoughts and dry my tears to be able to grocery shop,” she tells CafeMom. “There will be days that I feel like my chest is literally aching with pain.”

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The 34-year-old was visiting relatives in Alabama when she discovered Kipp had passed away in his sleep. Grant, a former pitcher for the New York Mets, was more than 2,000 miles away at home in Idaho. “That was the hardest phone call I have ever had to make,” she tells CafeMom. “It still grips my heart when I think about it.”

For months, Jana carried tremendous guilt believing it was somehow her fault. “Family members blamed Kipp’s passing on naive articles about SIDS and sent those to us,” Jana reveals. “That was so painful.” The nights for Jana were the worst. “The what-ifs keep you up,” she says. “What did I do wrong? What could I have done differently?”

Jana Roberts
Jana Roberts

But the hardest part is that Jana had done nothing wrong. She had followed all of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)’s sleep recommendations, including putting Kipp to sleep on his back on a firm surface with a tight-fitting sheet. Kipp had been exclusively breastfed. Although there is no 100 percent way to prevent SIDS, Jana and Grant now believe that there's one thing that could have saved their baby boy's life: the Owlet Smart Sock.

The $300 device, which is worn on a baby’s foot, tracks his or her heart rate, oxygen level, and body temperature. The best part is that it alerts parents if something isn’t right. And Jana wants to make sure as many parents as possible have access to one. That’s why she launched Kipps Kindness, a nonprofit that raises money through donations to purchase Owlet Smart Socks for families in need. The company generously matches every device purchased.

Jana Roberts
Jana Roberts

Jana now regularly receives letters of gratitude. “This mom reached out to tell us thank you for the Owlet that possibly saved her daughter,” she tells CafeMom. “It alerted her and they rushed to the hospital.” It was there that the woman learned that her child had RSV, a respiratory virus that can be life-threatening. “It’s stories like hers that let me know I’m making a difference,” says Jana.

Meanwhile, as the anniversary of Kipp’s death quickly approaches, Jana says she will most likely stay in with Grant and their 6-year-old son Kannon. “I will be very honest, you learn very early on to not make plans. Grief is sneaky and I might not want to do anything,” she admits. “I always ask my friends and family to honor Kipp by doing something kind for a stranger. I just like to think that he is looking down on us all and saying ‘Keep spreading happiness.’”

It is important to note that the Owlet doe not prevent SIDS, but rather, lets parents know if their child is choking or suffocating. The AAP warns that parents shouldn't rely on cardiorespiratory monitors to prevent SIDS and suffocation. HealthyChildren.org breaks down the AAP's recommendations here

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