Edison, NJ - Hackensack Meridian Health JFK Medical Center  announced its participation  in the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program this year.  The program is targeted to raising awareness about family heart health and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country, according to the hospital.

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. 

As part of its educational campaign, babies born at JFK received a handmade, knitted or crocheted red hat, as well as a kit full of heart-healthy information for mom and baby. JFK distributed nearly 175 kits during American Heart Month which includes Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (February 7-14). In New Jersey alone, over 6,700 kits were handed out across the state, almost double the amount distributed in 2018, according to the hospital.

The hospital stated that each new mom received a health packet which included tips on raising a healthy family, ways mom can take care of herself, heart-healthy recipes and information on children’s heart health.  Through programs like this, the hospital hopes to spread awareness to moms and families during American Heart Month about heart health and a healthy family lifestyle, it stated.