According to the American Heart Association, approximately 40,000 infants are born in the United States with some sort of congenital heart defect. It’s easy to overlook this as just another statistic, but eight tiny, fragile lives out of every 1,000 infants suffer from some form of heart defect. A congenital heart defect is the most common cause of infant death resulting from birth defects. This doesn’t just affect babies; there are currently approximately 1.7 million adults in the U.S. living with a heart defect. So what can we do?
To battle the No. 1 leading cause for deaths in the U.S., Anne Schullo started Little Hats, Big Hearts in February 2014 in Chicago to help raise awareness in memory of her friend, Courtney, who passed away from a cardiac arrhythmia at 25. As the Community Engagement Coordinator, Anne helped collect more than 300 red hats in the first year and now the program has expanded to 39 states!
Volunteers for the American Heart Association pass out these handmade red hats for all babies born in February at participating hospitals to celebrate American Heart Month. These tiny red hats help spark conversation about congenital heart defects to spread awareness. Hats will be accepted from Aug. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31st, 2016 for 2017’s campaign. Get ahead of the game and start knitting or crocheting now! Visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts to find the closest organization to donate. Can’t knit or crochet? No worries, they also take yarn donations.
Yarn should be red, cotton or acrylic, medium to heavy weight, machine washable and dryable. Please stick to simple patterns and don’t add embellishments. (Bows and buttons are choking hazards for the little ones.)
We’re calling all Craft Ideas readers to get involved by donating, knitting or crocheting red hats to spread awareness. Hats should be in both newborn and preemie sizes. A preemie’s head circumference is anywhere from 9” to 13” and a newborn’s head circumference is roughly 14”. Make sure to use hashtag #littlehatsbighearts when you share your hat photos on social media! Or email us your tiny creations: firstname.lastname@example.org.