JANESVILLE – Baby Tariq slept soundly in his hospital bassinet Thursday morning with 10 fingers, 10 toes and a bright red knitted cap.
Tariq was one of 16 babies born at Mercyhealth Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville between Feb. 1 and Feb. 8 who received red hats as part of the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign from.
Tariq’s family chose not to share his last name.
The campaign will continue through the end of February.
Besides being adorable, the hats serve as teaching tools for the community, said Shellie Richards, labor and delivery nurse at Mercyhealth.
Many visitors and families think the hats are for Valentine’s Day, Richards said. Really, they are to celebrate February as American Heart Month.
Congenital heart defects are the most common birth defects in infants, Richards said. Infants born with heart defects often are transported to other children’s hospitals for additional treatment.
Congenital heart defects result from mishaps during heart development soon after conception, according to the American Heart Association. One in every 125 babies is born with a heart defect in the United States each year.
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of Americans overall, according to the association.
Mercyhealth received 70 hats to give out through the month, said Trish Reed, spokesperson for Mercyhealth.
The hats were crocheted by volunteers in the community, Reed said. Mercyhealth volunteers packaged the hats.
Like each baby, every hat is unique, Richards said. Hats were made in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs.
Tariq’s hat is a crocheted beanie. Others were crocheted with hearts or made into stocking caps.
Every new family at Mercyhealth year-round leaves with a gift bag stuffed with a Sleep Sac to promote safe sleep habits, an information book, a growth chart and a magnet with tips for mothers who breast-feed.
Tariq slept soundly as his older brother, Tyjae, played in the room and watched videos on a cellphone.
The boys’ mother, Tonya, said her experience since giving birth Tuesday was pleasant, and she was happy to receive the little red hat.
As for Tyjae, he vowed to share all his toys with Tariq— at least for now.