Freeman News

Freeman Raises Awareness of Congenital Heart Defects

February 04, 2019

“Little Hats, Big Hearts” Program also Reminds Moms to take Care of their Hearts

According to American Heart Association® (AHA), one in one hundred babies is born with a congenital heart defect. To raise awareness, Freeman Health System has teamed up with AHA, in connection with The Children’s Heart Foundation™, for the “Little Hats, Big Hearts™” program. The program provides knitted or crocheted red hats to babies born at Freeman during the month of February, which is American Heart Month.

“These hats may be little, but their message is big,” said Paula F. Baker, Freeman President and Chief Executive Officer. “Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects in infants. We hope these hats inspire moms to live heart-healthy lives and help their children do the same.”

In addition to raising awareness of congenital heart defects, each hat is packaged with tips for parents to help keep their children healthy. They include not using tobacco, reducing sodium intake and following a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

All hats are knitted or crocheted by volunteers and then given to AHA for washing and drying. The hats are then packaged in a kit with health information and delivered to hospitals for distribution.

“Little Hats, Big Hearts” began in 2014 in Chicago, Ill., where it collected 300 hats in the first year. It has expanded to volunteers knitting hats in more than 40 states. Hats must be made with red cotton or acrylic yarn, medium to heavy weight, and must be machine washable and dryable.

About Freeman Health System

Locally owned, not-for-profit and nationally recognized, Freeman Health System includes Freeman Hospital West, Freeman Hospital East, Freeman Neosho Hospital and Ozark Center – the area’s largest provider of behavioral health services – as well as two urgent care clinics, dozens of physician clinics and a variety of specialty services. In 2019, Freeman earned dozens of individual awards for medical excellence and patient safety from CareChex®, a quality rating system that helps consumers evaluate healthcare providers. The Leapfrog Group awarded Freeman the highest grade possible in the Fall 2018 Hospital Patient Safety Score. With more than 300 physicians on staff representing more than 70 specialties, Freeman provides cancer care, heart care, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopaedics, children’s services and women’s services. Additionally, Freeman is the only Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in a 70-mile radius. For more information, visit