Meet Miriam Rutherford – van Gisbergen - founder of Safe T Sleep
Meet Miriam Rutherford-van Gisbergen - inventor, educator and director of Safe T Sleep® International. Together with her daughter Mieke, she has grown Safe T Sleep into the awesome business it is today, making sleeping safer for our precious babies and life a little easier for parents and caregivers.
OHbaby!: Tell us about yourself
Miriam Rutherford – van Gisbergen. Born in The Netherlands and emigrated with parents to New Zealand in the 1950’s after WWII. My parents arrived with three children and only 50pounds. I remember a child’s life that was safe, fun and included going to church every Sunday. My parents worked long hours, they made everything from our clothes to furniture. If anything broke it was fixed – nothing was wasted and I still enjoy doing this myself. When I started school, I only spoke Dutch and its thanks to a great education by dedicated nuns and my love of reading that I did well in English. My mother taught me to knit and sew (not cook unfortunately). I have lived in the Waikato, Coromandel and Auckland and although The Netherlands holds special place in my heart, I totally love New Zealand and call it my home. Our parents and many, many other emigrated families worked extremely hard and I am proud of how they have contributed to New Zealand as a whole. What I love most of all is family and our NZ beaches. I remember dad and another Dutch friend milling and building us a Bach at Whangamata, also making all the furniture and my mother making the curtains, bed spreads and upholstery. The ocean is my happy place, my family and faith are most important and coffee and wine come a close fourth 😊
OHbaby!: What does your family look like?
I have three adult children, Cameron who is married to a lovely English lady Caroline and have three children, Anton-Karl who is married to a charming French lady Lise and have two children, lastly Mieke with her awesome Australian partner Tim and their angel baby.
OHbaby!: What is your business and what does it do/sell?
Safe T Sleep (NZ) Limited.
The Safe T Sleep® Sleepwrap® baby wrap product is the best, practical, more versatile and economical baby wrap swaddle ‘arms up’ way to keep baby safer when sleeping.
Giving newborn to 2year olds all-natural movement, safe, comfortable and a more restful, longer sleep. Baby’s arms, legs, hips are free to move naturally yet safer from potentially dangerous and awkward baby sleeping positions and bed accidents. Peace of mind for parents.
Great for travelling, visiting, boating, camping and more.
For even more peace of mind in the first six months use a Sleepwrap together with a little Safe T Sleep HEADwedge to help ensure baby develops a lovely shaped head.
Since Safe T Sleep's conception in 1976 and delivery onto the world market with the Sleepwrap in 1992, hundreds of thousands of babies worldwide have slept safely in the patented and *hospital clinically proven Safe T Sleep Sleepwrap with NO reported fatalities, cot accidents or injuries!
How the Sleepwrap® works:
The Sleepwrap wraps very securely around the mattress but just snugly and comfortably around baby’s torso up underneath the armpits, preventing awkward, dangerous baby sleeping positions, yet allowing all-natural movement. Baby’s arms, legs, hips are free to move naturally yet safe from baby bed and developmental accidents. Best baby sleep product.
The Sleepwrap simply goes over any modern or traditional swaddling, baby sleeping bags and any kind of sleepwear baby wears to bed. The Sleepwraps fit mattresses worldwide from bassinet to king sized beds, including bedside bed co-sleeper bassinets and everything in between. Choose your Sleepwrap according to the bed size you are using for baby.
How the little Safe T Sleep® HEADwedge works:
To be used together with a Safe T Sleep Sleepwrap baby wrap. For young babies, under 6months. Helps prevent Flat/deformed Heads. For a safer baby and a lovely shaped head.
The little HEADwedge tucks well under the Safe T Sleep Sleepwrap to sit underneath baby’s shoulder and beside the head, alternating head position at each sleep.
OHbaby!: What is the story behind your business?
I designed and developed the Safe T Sleep® Sleepwrap® to help prevent my own young, wriggly baby from creeping and suffocating and at a later developmental stage to give myself a few extra moments to attend to my aspiring mountaineering 9-month-old. I had nursed very young children who sustained severe and permanent brain damage from standing, climbing and falling from the cot/crib or bed. At the time I needed peace of mind for myself by ensuring safe, settled and comfortable sleeptime for my own first born.
OHbaby!: What does a day in the life of you look like?
I love to read so daily reading is mostly business orientated and evenings more relaxing material. I use an old fashioned diary and usually plan out a few days ahead allowing for flexibility and balance. I am up reasonably early, either take a short walk, bike ride or do exercises. For the rest of the day most attention is directed at helping raise awareness about the Safe T Sleep products in order to help more parents have extra peace of mind.
OHbaby!: What is your favourite thing about your business?
To be able to provide a top quality, *hospital clinically proven, safety product to give babies a safer sleep, peace of mind for parents & caregivers; within the philosophy of nurturing, positive parenting. Plus, working with my lovely daughter Mieke, it’s such a blessing to be able to work together and to be able to help and offer extra safety and peace of mind to parents esp mums.
OHbaby!: Favourite product?
The Safe T Sleep Sleepwrap and little HEADwedge as they make such a positive safety contribution to families.
OHbaby!: Any fun stories you would like to share?
I used to travel from Cape Reinga to Bluff on a regular basis to see clients and to find new ones. On one of these trips, I was so excited to see a beautiful beach in Blenheim and for some reason I decided to drive on the beach as the sand looked very compacted and hard. However, I should have checked the sand of course as I got stuck! I had to walk miles to find someone with a tractor to pull me out. I won’t do that again!
OHbaby!: What is one thing you said you wouldn’t do as a parent that you totally do?
Always said I’d never become ‘noise intolerant’ but I am now, if anything is up too loud.
There have been many many wonderful, helpful people along this Safe T Sleep journey including family, well known business people, medical professionals and special friends. One of the most helpful books I read in the early stages of the business was recommended to me by Margaret and Stephen Tindall which was ‘’The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’’ by Stephen Covey.