Kathy Welsh

Kathy Welsh

MIDDLETOWN – Orange Regional Medical Center is partnering with the American Heart Association, in connection with The Children’s Heart Foundation, for the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program.

Little Red Hats to Raise Awareness for Congenital Heart Defects

Photo provided

During February/American Heart Month, this program helps raise awareness for congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country. Every baby born at Orange Regional during February will receive a little red hat.

American Heart Month aims to raise awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of American men and women. Congenital Heart Defects (CHD) Awareness Week is February 7 – 14 and focuses on congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth. They result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as “holes” between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves.

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The AHA put a call out to knitting and crocheting enthusiasts in December, and little red hats came pouring in from all over the region. Some parents of children born with congenital heart defects sent hats in, as well. Some donated hats in memory of those lost to heart defects.

The AHA is committed to raising awareness for CHD, and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. In fact, the organization’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government. Thanks to AHA advocacy, laws were passed in CT and NYS to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth. The AHA also creates guidelines for, and trains parents, caregivers, and medical professionals in infant and child CPR.

For more information on Orange Regional’s Rowley Family Birthing Center visit www.ormc.org/maternity.

More information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program is online at www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts. Learn more about congenital heart defects at www.heart.org/CHD.  Parents of children with CHD may find support online at the AHA’s new Support Network at http://supportnetwork.heart.org/congenital-heart-disease.

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