February is Heart Month, and even the littlest hearts can be affected by heart disease or congenital heart defects. Two years ago, South Dakota passed a law requiring that all newborn babies be screened for congenital heart defects before leaving the hospital. Such a simple little test that is saving little lives! During Heart Month, we are raising awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country by providing knitted red hats for babies born in February at participating hospitals.
Congenital heart defects are malformation of the heart or major blood vessels that occur before birth. In many cases, however, hospital stall may not identify these defects and outwardly healthy infants may be admitted to nurseries and discharged from hospitals before signs of disease are detected.
Occurring in 8 out of 1,000 live births, congenital heart defects account for 24% of infant deaths that are caused by birth defects. A quarter of infants who have congenital heart defects will be diagnosed with critical congenital heart defects (CCHD), a life threatening condition that requires surgery or catheter intervention within the first year of life. Failure to detect CCHD and late detection of CCHD may lead to serious morbidity or even death.
The program, Little Hats, Big Hearts™ started in February 2014 in Chicago, IL by collecting 300 hats in the first year. The program has now expanded to 29 states. We are thrilled to have so many volunteers interested in Little Hats, Big Hearts™! For information, or to help by knitting hats, CLICK HERE.