ROBBINSVILLE >> The American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation have launched the fourth year of New Jersey’s Little Hats, Big Hearts initiative. The program gives new moms a free kit that includes a beautiful, handmade red hat, along with health information including tips on raising a healthy family, ways mom can take care of herself, heart-healthy recipes and information on children’s heart health. Babies born in February will don knitted red caps to raise awareness of heart disease, the number one killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects (CHD), the most common type of birth defect in the country.

In New Jersey alone, over 6,700 kits will be handed out at over 35 hospitals across the state during the month of February. This February, which is American Heart Month and also holds Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, starting on February 7, the American Heart Association will empower and educate moms on one of life’s most important journeys – parenthood.

“As a new mom and CHD survivor myself, I’m thrilled that the American Heart Association is raising awareness for heart-healthy living through the Little Hats, Big Hearts program,” said Christine Rochelle, spokesperson for the American Heart Association. “During one of the most joyful and stressful times in life, this information is invaluable for new parents.”

Heart disease can affect anyone—including moms and babies. In fact, 90 percent of women have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and congenital heart defects (CHD) are the No. 1 most frequent birth defect affecting about 8 out of 1000 infants born each year. Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth. According to the American Heart Association, it’s possible to fix most congenital heart defects and there are an estimated two million CHD survivors in the United States. The American Heart Association is working hard towards our goal to have more healthy babies and moms by raising awareness, advocating for change and funding cutting-edge cardiovascular research to save and improve lives.

This year, eight South Jersey hospitals participated in this initiative including: AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Cape Regional Medical Center, Cooper University Health Care, Inspira Medical Center Woodbury, Jefferson Health New Jersey – Washington Township, Our Lady of Lourdes Medical Center, Virtua Mount Holly and Virtua Voorhees.

The Little Hats, Big Hearts program started in Chicago in 2014 and has expanded to more than 40 states.Since 2016, nearly 10,000 hats have been distributed in the Garden State. For more information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program in New Jersey, please visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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