Little red hats make a big impact at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital

Jefferson Health New Jersey participates in the American Heart Association’s ‘Little Hats, Big Hearts’ program

Jefferson Health New Jersey employee Sarah Porreca and her husband Jay Lorenz of Washington Township welcomed their son August Lorenz, who was born at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital. Presenting August with a red knit cap are Director of Business Development for Women’s & Children’s Services at Jefferson Health New Jersey Tammy Harold (standing left) and Maternity Center nurse Susan Thomas.

Jefferson Washington Township Hospital is excited to be 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, 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 well being, while creating a healthy lifestyle for the entire family.

In recognition of American Heart Month, and as part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, beginning on Feb. 1, babies born at Jefferson Washington Township Hospital received a handmade, knitted or crocheted red hat, as well as a kit full of heart-healthy information for mom and baby. Each mom will receive a health packet that includes tips on raising a healthy family, ways mom can take care of herself, heart-healthy recipes and information on children’s heart health.

In New Jersey alone, 3,500 kits are expected to be handed out across the state. The event also ties in with Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, which begins on Feb. 7. 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 AHA, it’s possible to fix most congenital heart defects and there are an estimated two million CHD survivors in the U.S.

Jefferson Washington Township Hospital and the AHA hope to spread awareness to moms and families during February about heart health and a healthy family lifestyle. The Little Hats, Big Hearts program started in Chicago in 2014 and has expanded to more than 40 states. Since 2016, nearly 5,800 hats have been distributed in the Garden State. For more information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program, please visit www.heart.org/littlehatsbighearts.