Baby boy Merrick Shamsid-Deen is one of the first babies to receive a red hat from the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts program. He is shown in the picture with dad Najeeb.

More than 1,600 newborns in Los Angeles County received “red hats” as part of the American Heart Association’s new “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program. The hats were specially knitted or crocheted by volunteers from LA and around the country.  

The program, which began in Chicago in 2014 and was launched in Los Angeles this year, celebrates healthy babies and parents while raising awareness of heart disease, the No. 1 killer of Americans, and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country which affects at least 40,000 babies each year.

“Little Hats, Big Hearts” provides handmade hats to newborn babies in 10 participating Los Angeles hospitals, including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Henry Mayo Medical Center in Valencia.

“We believe that health begins the moment a baby takes its first breath,” said Shawn Casey, Affiliate Development Officer for the American Heart Association. “Through ‘Little Hats, Big Hearts,’ we had a wonderful opportunity to be there for the babies’ first precious moments as we delivered a message of health to their parents.”

Those interested in donating hats for 2018 can visit for information, including yarn specifics and sample patterns.