The Think HEART campaign aims to empower and inform parents giving them the confidence to raise their concerns about their child with their doctor or a health professional.
The Think HEART acronym has five easy to remember steps to identify a possible 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)
Heart problems go undiagnosed in far too many children and Think HEART will increase early diagnosis and help to save children's lives. These conditions affect 5000 children a year, almost 1 per cent of all children and currently only around a third of them are picked up before birth.
Alex Smith, mum of Georgina a child with CHD who was diagnosed after over 2 years said, "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.
"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".
Anne Keatley-Clarke Director of CHF commented about the upcoming campaign, "This Children's Heart Week we are aiming to spread the word about the Think HEART campaign as far and as wide as possible. Information is power and this easy to follow guidance will enable more children with congenital heart problems to be diagnosed much sooner. This will ultimately help save lives and reduce the impacts on children and their families".