March 23, 2021, is a special day for Kayla Borton. It was the day that her twin boys, Chase and Case, were born. They were healthy and the doctors released them to go home with all positive reports.
May 12, 2021, is another momentous date, but one that has left a deep and abiding scar. Borton put the babies down for a nap around 10 a.m. Three hours later when she checked on them, Case had passed away from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
After the death of their son, Borton and her husband discovered that their boys had been at risk for SIDS – a fact no one told her until after it was too late.
“I don’t drink, I don’t smoke and I don’t do drugs,” she says. “I wouldn’t even drink caffeine when I was pregnant because I was worried about the adverse effects of it on my babies. We practiced safe sleep, and I still lost my child to SIDS. I did everything I could to prevent it.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approximately 3,400 sudden unexpected infant deaths every year in the U.S. Some babies are statistically more high-risk than others, including those born before 38 weeks, twins and multiples, those with mothers who participate in drugs, alcohol or smoking while pregnant, babies who live with a smoker, those with certain birth defects, and boys. The more factors a child has, the more at risk he or she is.
Borton learned about Owlet Smart Socks the day after her son died when her best friend purchased one for Chase. These socks, which comfortably wrap around a baby’s foot, monitor a baby’s oxygen levels and heart rate. Unfortunately they can’t stop SIDS from occurring, but can notify the parents if something isn’t right so they can take the proper steps.
The Owlet Sock was first released in 2013. Since then this technology has saved many lives, as attested by the number of testimonies on the Owlet website written by grateful and relieved parents. In all that time, not one of the millions of babies monitored by the Owlet Sock has passed away from SIDS.
“I told my husband about this sock, and he said, ‘If they have a device like this out there, why do babies not come home from the hospital with them?’” Borton says. “He’s right. Why? I can’t change the past. I can’t bring my baby back, but I can change the future, and that’s what I do through this foundation. I don’t want anyone to feel this pain of losing their child, especially when it could be prevented.”
Borton started the Just In Case Foundation, naming it after her son.
“I purchase Owlet Socks and I give them to infants born in a higher risk for SIDS,” she explains.
“We also try to spread awareness for SIDS and tell them it can happen to anyone.”
Since starting her 501(c)(3) foundation the end of May, Borton has given away more than 200 Owlet Socks, with 100 names on a waiting list.
Ultimately Borton would like to see a decrease of SIDS deaths across the nation. On a local level, she would like to raise awareness of SIDS and the Owlet capabilities. One way that Borton has been doing this is by hosting fundraisers in Starke County, including benefit dinners and brewery tours. All of the money raised is funneled back into the foundation to buy more Owlet Socks. Donations can also be given on the official website.
“Without donors, my foundation can’t help anyone,” she says.
Another way she helps is through educational material. Borton has a couple of brochures that discuss SIDS and are free to anyone, especially family doctors.
Eventually, she would also like to offer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes to parents.
“I think it’s important for parents to know how to administer CPR just in case they need it,” she says. “The Owlet notifies you if your infant isn’t breathing, but it does you no good if you don’t know how to [perform CPR] in that time of need.”
To apply for an Owlet Sock or make a tax-deductible donation to the Just in Case Foundation, check out justincasefoundation.com. Anyone interested in more information about the Owlet Smart Sock or SIDS can reach out to Borton by calling 574-298-0016 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.