Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign raises awareness at Adirondack Health
SARANAC LAKE – Throughout the month of February, Adirondack Health was proud to participate in the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program. The educational initiative, in connection with the Children’s Heart Foundation, is designed to get moms and families thinking about heart healthy living while raising awareness about congenital heart defects.
Two employees of the hospital’s new women’s health center, Jessica Duhaime, RNC, IBCLC, and Erin Mitchell, medical office assistant, traveled to Albany in late January to pick up a supply of infant-sized red hats, which had been knitted and crocheted by volunteers from around the country. The hats were then given to each new baby born in Adirondack Health’s Stafford New Life Center.
“It’s great to see an educational effort like Little Hats, Big Hearts bring smiles to the faces of new parents and our longtime maternity nurses alike,” said Dr. Darci Beiras, Adirondack Health’s Director of Pediatrics and interim Chief Medical Officer.
According to the New York State Department of Health, congenital heart diseases are the most common birth defects in children, affecting nearly 300 newborns statewide each year. Since 2014, all birthing facilities in New York state have been required to perform a pulse oximetry screening on every newborn in their care. The purpose of pulse oximetry screening is to detect and begin treating critical congenital heart diseases as soon as possible.
“Having a baby can be scary, particularly for first-time moms,” said Duhaime, who serves as Adirondack Health’s women’s health navigator. “The little hats are a simple, cute way for us to start serious and important heart health conversations with parents.”
Little Hats, Big Hearts began in February 2014 in Chicago, collecting 300 hats in the first year. The program has now expanded to more than 40 states. If you knit or crochet, or would like to donate yarn to the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, please email the American Heart Association at LittleHatsBigHearts@heart.org.