Healthwatch 16: Little Hats, Big Hearts

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SCRANTON -- "Little Hats, Big Hearts," is the name of a nationwide effort to get parents thinking about congenital heart disease.

This is "Go Red for Women Day," a campaign by the American Heart Association to bring attention to the prevalence of heart disease and stroke, and in Scranton, even the littlest among us got in on it.

Beautiful little Esther Rose is just 2 days old and already she is well accessorized.

Esther was born at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, part of the Commonwealth Health Network.

Her parents are over-the-moon happy and her mom Samantha says it was a nice surprise when hospital staff brought Esther a hand-knit red hat.

"It was really cute and really nice of them. It's a good cause, so we definitely wanted to take one," said Samantha Stevens-Falls.

That cause is getting the word out about heart defects. February is the American Heart Association's heart health month.

Volunteers knit hundreds of tiny red hats for what's called "Little Hats, Big Hearts." They're given to newborns and their parents, along with an important message about heart health.

"It was a group of volunteers who wanted to raise awareness about congenital heart defects, which is the number 2 defect in the U.S. Little Hats Big Hearts brings awareness to that," said Amy Skiba, Heart Walk Director NEPA.

Skiba says the effort started in Chicago. It's the second year they've done it at Moses Taylor, and they also distribute the hats to Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg.

Some workers at Moses Taylor, like the nurse manager of mom/baby and pediatrics Andrea Kocher think it's a great idea.

"Oh, I think it's so cute!" said Kocher. "I think definitely anything we can do to involve the community, get people involved, and celebrate something like the American Heart Association is a great opportunity."

And the little hat is something Samantha Stevens says she'll keep for Esther as a reminder of her first few days.

Little Hats, Big Hearts goes on for the whole month of February.

Friday also happens to be Go Red for Women Day. The American Heart Association says heart disease is a leading cause of death for women, and that a healthy lifestyle, even small changes in diet and exercise, can lead to a lifetime of heart health.