Little Red Hats Take Over Danbury Hospitals Family Birth Center

New Milford Hospital

DANBURY, Connecticut – February 26, 2016 – Danbury Hospital is partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) for the “Little Hats, Big Hearts” Program during February – American Heart Month to help raise awareness for congenital heart defects (CHD), the most common type of birth defect in the country.  Every baby born at Danbury Hospital during February will receive a little red hat.

Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth.  They result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception an 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.

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

The American Heart Association is committed to raising awareness for CHD, 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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About Western Connecticut Health Network

Western Connecticut Health Network is the region's premier, patient-centered health care organization serving residents of Western Connecticut and adjacent New York. The organization is anchored by three nationally recognized hospitals, Danbury Hospital, New Milford Hospital and Norwalk Hospital, as well as their affiliated organizations. In addition to the three hospitals, the continuum of care offered includes numerous medical practices and sub-specialties across the region, home health care services, a nationally renowned biomedical research institute, the Western Connecticut Health Network Foundation, the Norwalk Hospital Foundation and other affiliates. For more information, visit our websites:;; and For more information, visit Share your comments with us at; and/or

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers.  We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for strong public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases.  The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.  To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit or call any of our offices around the country.   


Photo ID and Caption:

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.