'Little Hats, Big Hearts' campaign needs you to knit for newborns

(ALLTHEMOMS.com) - Do you know how to crochet? Want to help newborn babies and their mothers?

Sometimes babies need a little extra TLC after they’re born. And The American Heart Association partnered up with The Children’s Heart Foundation for an extra special project you can help with.

The “Little Hats, Big Hearts” campaign spreads awareness on congenital heart defects and remind new moms to live heart-healthy lives for themselves and their newborns.

“Congenital heart defects are structural problems arising from abnormal formation of the heart or major blood vessels,” according to the AHA website.

The campaign began in 2014 with a few Chicago hospitals and about 300 tiny, red hats. Today, more than 40 states and 500 hospitals have participated to crochet more than 90,000 hats, said the AHA project coordinator, Anne Schullo.

This program has “helped mothers emotionally, and raised awareness around the No. 1 killer of Americans (congenital heart defects), which is also the No. 1 type of birth defect,” Schullo told AlltheMoms.com.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 40,000 newborns are born with heart defects every year. A quarter of those babies have severe heart defects that require several surgeries their first year.

Most of the time when babies die because of a congenital heart defect, it occurs during the first 28 days of life: the neonatal period. One study found that 4.2 percent of all neonatal deaths were a result of congenital heart defects.

So get your crochet hooks ready to help raise awareness.

How to help:

If you can knit or crochet, you can help AHA by making red newborn hats to be given to babies born in February during heart-health month.

If you can’t knit, you can help by donating balls of red yarn.

The types of yarn they are looking for are:

- Red
- Cotton or acrylic
- Medium to heavyweight
- Machine washable and dryable

Visit the AHA website to see which hospitals in your state are participating and where to drop off or ship the tiny, red hats.

If you don’t have a pattern or don’t know how to freehand it, check the website for six patterns to choose from.

What does a heart-healthy life look like?

Check out AHA’s tips to learn more, but the four tenets include:

Eat smart: Make healthy, delicious choices wherever and whenever you eat
Add color: Eat more fruits and veggies
Move more: Infuse more movement into your life for optimal health
Be well: Create balance, vitality and well-being through self-care

ALLTHEMOMS.com


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