Babes of February: Little Hats, Big Hearts™ Mobilizes Volunteers for Heart Month

*Little Hats, Big Hearts discontinued for 2020

The American Heart Association has made the difficult decision to end the Little Hats, Big Hearts program this year out of an abundance of caution. The little red hats, knitted and crocheted by volunteers all over the country, helped to bring awareness to heart health and congenital heart defects but concerns were raised recently of increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While Memorial Health System Family Maternity units are no longer collecting the hats for distribution, the little hats should be safe when used with supervision.

Below are some guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics on safe sleeping practices.

  • Place the baby on his or her back on a firm sleep surface such as a crib or bassinet with a tight-fitting sheet.
  • Avoid use of soft bedding, including crib bumpers, blankets, pillows and soft toys. The crib should be bare.
  • Share a bedroom with parents, but not the same sleeping surface, preferably until the baby turns 1 but at least for the first six months. Room-sharing decreases the risk of SIDS by as much as 50 percent.
    • “Sharing a bed with a baby, up to age 1, drastically increases their risk of death,” said Susan McCarty, nurse manager of MMC FMS. “We tell our parents that if they feel drowsy they should always lay baby back in the crib or bassinet.”
  • Avoid baby’s exposure to smoke, alcohol and illicit drugs.

Volunteers from the American Heart Association and Illinois National Bank (INB), the local sponsor of the Little Hats, Big Hearts™ campaign, delivered red knitted and crocheted hats packaged with information about congenital heart defects and the American Heart Association online patient support network. Thank you to employees and volunteers who contributed time and talent to create more than 400 red hats for this initiative!

The campaign to raise awareness included informational social media posts on Facebook and Twitter featuring our babies in red hats from Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital, Memorial Medical Center and Passavant Area Hospital.

Visit the Little Hats, Big Hearts™ Flickr gallery to see more pics of our sweet “Babes of February.”

2018 Little Hats, Big Hearts