News Release - Parents urged to 'Think HEART' to save their baby's life

Embargoed until: Monday 13th May 2013

 

PARENTS URGED TO ‘THINK HEART’ TO SAVE THEIR BABY’S LIFE DURING CHILDREN’S HEART WEEK

During Children’s Heart Week (13th– 19th May), parents are being urged to check for warning signs of heart problems experienced by their children and follow life-saving guidance issued by the UK’s leading children’s heart charity.

The Children’s Heart Federation’s ‘Think HEART’ campaign aims to increase early diagnosis of children’s heart conditions.

Think HEART provides parents with five easy signs to help to spot a heart problem:

 

H – Heart Rate (Is their heart rate too fast or too slow. Normal rate is between 100 to 160 beats per minute)

 

E – Energy (Are they sleepy, quiet and too tired to feed)

 

A – Appearance (Is your baby a pale, waxy, dusky, blue or grey colour)

 

R – Respiration (Are they breathing too fast or too slow. Normal rate is between 40 to 60 breaths per minute)

 

T – Temperature (Are they cold to touch – particularly their hands and feet)

 

The charity is also calling on the Government to introduce screening to detect heart conditions for all newborns babies.

Alex Smith’s daughter, Georgina had a heart condition that went undiagnosed for two and a half years. Georgina’s condition was undetected at Alex’s pregnancy scan and undiagnosed by several medical professionals after her birth.

 

Alex Smith, from Hertfordshire says “It was so stressful having a sick child, knowing there was something wrong with her but not knowing for almost two years that it was her heart. Even though as a mother I had bought up my concerns with a number of medical professionals, they didn’t spot the problem as they weren’t fully aware of these conditions.

 

“This campaign is such a great idea. We really understand the importance of early diagnosis and how our lives would have been so different in the early days of Georgina’s life if we had known what was really wrong with her.

Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF says: “Every year, 5,000 babies are born with Congenital Heart Disease, however only a third are detected before birth. Delays in diagnosis cause uncertainly, distress, physical harm and can even be life-risking for these young children.

“I urge parents and health professionals to look out for the five Think HEART signs to ensure that any problems are quickly identified and managed effectively”.

To get involved with the Think HEART campaign visit www.chfed.org.uk/thinkheart

Ends

 

Contact for general media enquiries:

Rohini Simbodyal, Policy and Communications manager at Children’s Heart Federation telephone: 0207 442 0630/ 07814178740 or email: rohinis@chfed.org.uk

 

Notes for editors:

  1. A high resolution jpeg image is available of CHF parent supporter Alex Smith who has a daughter with a congenital heart defect which went undiagnosed for two and half years.
  2. Interviews are available on request with Alex Smith, and a spokesperson from the Children’s Heart Federation.
  3. The Children’s Heart Federation (CHF) is the UK’s leading children’s heart charity and an umbrella organisation for 21 member groups which support heart children and their families. CHF supports families through its information service, small grants programme, peer support events and provision of equipment. The charity also lobbies for changes to the health, social care and education systems for the benefit of heart families (see www.chfed.org.uk).