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Little Red Hats Take Over Danbury Hospital’s Family Birth Center

Danbury Hospital Family Birth Center new mom’s holding their newborn sons wearing “Little Red Hats” Left to Right: Amy Kotach holding son Nicholas, Kelly Bush-Brown holding son Carter and Julisse Ortega holding Son Emmanuel Ortega. Photo Credit: Western Connecticut Health Network
Danbury Hospital Family Birth Center Nursing Staff holding newborns wearing “Little Red Hats.” Left to Right: Rachel Cronin holding Nicholas Kotach, Manju Patel holding Carter Bush-Brown andMary Kearney holding Emmanuel Ortega. Photo Credit: Western Connecticut Health Network

DANBURY, Conn. -- Danbury Hospital partnered with the American Heart Association for the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program during February – American Heart Month -- to help raise awareness for congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country.

Every baby born at Danbury Hospital during February received a little red hat in recognition of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program.

“Every baby born at Danbury Hospital is screened for congenital heart defects before they go home,” said Maria Minei, nurse manager at Danbury Hospital Family Birth Center. “We are pleased to be participating in the program to help raise awareness about the importance of these screenings.”

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.

The AHA put a call out to knitting and crocheting enthusiasts in December, and little red hats came pouring in from all over the region. Some parents of children born with congenital heart defects sent hats in as well. Some donated hats in memory of those lost to heart defects.

The American Heart Association is committed to raising awareness of congenital heart defects and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. In fact, the organization’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to the federal government.

Thanks to AHA advocacy, laws were passed in Connecticut and New York State to ensure that every baby born receives pulse-oximetry testing, which can help identify heart defects immediately after birth.

The AHA also creates guidelines for, and trains parents, caregivers and medical professionals in infant and child CPR.

To learn more about the Family Birth Center at Danbury Hospital, visit Danbury Hospital/Women’s and Children’s Services.

More information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program is online at

Learn more about congenital heart defects at Parents of children with CHD may find support online at the AHA’s new Support Network at

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