Little Red Hats Warm Hearts in a Big Way at Virtua

American Heart Association Little Hats, Big Hearts - Virtua

Virtua is extremely excited to be a part of the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program this year. The American Heart Association is raising awareness about family heart health and congenital heart defects (CHD), the most common type of birth defect in the country, with support from The Children’s Heart Foundation. This effort aims to empower new moms to take charge of their own wellbeing while starting a healthy lifestyle for the entire family.

As part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, babies born at Virtua received a handmade, knitted or crocheted, red hat, as well as a kit full of heart-healthy information for mom and baby. Each mom received a health packet which included tips on raising healthy children, work outs to do at home, an American Heart Association recipe and information on congenital heart defects.

Virtua was proud to distribute nearly 100 kits during Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, starting on February 7th. 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. According to the American Heart Association, it’s possible to fix most congenital heart defects and there are an estimated 2 million CHD survivors in the United States.

Virtua and the American Heart Association hope to spread awareness to moms and families during February, American Heart Month, about heart health and a healthy family lifestyle.

“The Little Hats, Big Hearts program is near and dear to our hearts at Virtua because it perfectly aligns with our mission to help our patients be well and stay well,” says Lauren Ochs, Assistant Vice President of Women’s and Children’s Services. “As a leader in maternal and child heath in South Jersey, we continually strive to educate new moms about the importance of good health for them and their families, and this initiative is a beautiful way to bring awareness to CHD.”

The Little Hats, Big Hearts program started in Chicago in 2014 and has expanded to more than 40 states. Over 2,000 kits are being distributed throughout the Garden State. For more information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program in NJ, please visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts.