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Little Hats, Big Hearts in Oregon

Volunteers from the Portland metro area and beyond joined the American Heart Association to celebrate American Heart Month by knitting and crocheting over 5,000 little red hats for our Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign!

hero_image_alt_text===A large group of red knit stocking caps.
thumbnail_alt_text===A large group of red knit stocking caps.

Little Hats, Big Hearts is a national effort to provide resources and inspire moms to take their family’s heart health to heart, while also raising awareness about Congenital Heart Defects. Each handmade hat will be given to newborns born in February at local hospitals.

Along with Little Hats, Big Hearts, I’m pleased to update you on our pulse oximetry screening for newborns law that many of our You’re the Cure Advocates (like you!) helped pass in 2013. In December 2017, the CDC released a study which shows that states, like Oregon, that require their hospitals to screen newborns with pulse oximetry saw the most significant decrease in infant deaths compared with states without screening policies.

Just for a refresher, pulse oximetry is a simple bedside test to determine the amount of oxygen in a baby’s blood and the baby’s pulse rate. Low levels of oxygen in the blood can be a sign of a critical congenital heart disease (CCHD). About 1 in every 4 babies born with a congenital heart defect has CCHD and will need surgery or other procedures in the first year of life. In the U.S., about 7,200 babies born each year have one of seven CCHDs. Without screening by a pulse oximetry reading, some babies born with a congenital heart defect can appear healthy at first and be sent home with their families before their heart defect is detected. Early detection of babies with critical congenital heart defects via pulse oximetry not only saves lives, but can save a child from permanent disability due to brain and organ damage from a congenital heart condition that is repaired only after oxygen has not reached vital tissues for too long.

Thanks to your support for pulse oximetry screening, newborns in Oregon have the best chance at a healthy life! To become involved in more of our policy campaigns or to learn more about Little Hats, Big Hearts please email me at

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