We knitters tend to be a charitable group, and one excellent way we can give back this month, American Heart Month, is by knitting little red hats for newborns. The American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign sends newborns home from the hospital with red hats and some lifesaving information during the month of
We knitters tend to be a charitable group, and one excellent way we can give back this month, American Heart Month, is by knitting little red hats for newborns. The American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign sends newborns home from the hospital with red hats and some lifesaving information during the month of February. Why give babies these hats? While the idea of putting handmade hats on sweet, new babies is adorable, it comes with a somber reminder: along with the hats, families of newborns receive informational packets about congenital heart defects, the most common birth defect and a leading cause of death among infants. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 40,000 children born in the United States, or 8 of every 1,000 infants, have some form of congenital heart defect.
As a knit designer and blogger, I joined the campaign early on in the hope of spreading the word to my readers about this great effort as raising awareness about congenital heart defects hits close to home for me. Nearly a decade ago, I lost a close cousin to a sudden heart attack, the cause of which was most likely an undiagnosed heart defect. We were close in age and as neither of us had sisters, I always considered her to be my would-be sister. I feel very deeply that it’s important to share her story and to help people understand what’s at stake with an awareness campaign like this. I always thought this tragedy could have struck any one of the grandkids in my family just as easily as it struck my cousin, but as I’ve grown and matured with the influence of that tragedy on my life, I now realize that this could have happened to anyone. I like to think that if we had had an awareness campaign like Little Hats, Big Hearts when my cousin was born, we might have known about her heart defect.
Please consider whipping up a little red hat (or ten) to help young families understand congenital heart defects and to hopefully save some little lives. The campaign is seeking hats for newborns, from very young preemie sizes on up. Some of the hats end up on the heads of babies diagnosed with heart defects who face serious surgeries early on in life, and some end up on the heads of babies with fewer early struggles. Little Hats, Big Hearts pairs a lovingly made, welcome-to-the-world gift with important, life-saving information for families.
As of this year, fourteen states are participating in the Little Hats, Big Hearts program. To find out if your state has a program, please visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts. If your state has yet to hop on board the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign, visit that same website for information about how to help spread the campaign to reach as many babies across the country as possible.