Alex Cunningham is calling on parents across the Stockton Borough to check for warning signs of possible heart problems in babies, and to follow life-saving guidance from the UK’s leading children’s heart charity.
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)
Alex is also backing the Children’s Heart Federation’s campaign for all babies to be tested for heart conditions at birth to help save lives. Pulse Oximetry is a quick, painless and cheap test that measures oxygen levels in blood and detects over 90% of life threatening heart defects in newborns, and Alex has written to the North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust to find out their policy on testing and whether the test will be offered universally moving forward.
“Every year, around 5,000 babies are born with Congenital Heart Disease. But only a third are detected before birth, meaning babies with potentially lethal but treatable conditions leave hospital without being diagnosed. Delays in diagnosis cause distress, physical harm and can be life-risking.
“This is why I’m backing the Children’s Heart Federation’s campaign to get all babies tested for heart conditions at birth and I encourage parents across the Borough to look out for the charity’s five Think HEART signs.”
Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF said: “We are grateful for Alex’s support for increasing the early detection of heart conditions in babies. Having all babies tested at birth will help save lives and we hope our Think HEART campaign will help more parents throughout Stockton-on-Tees spot the early signs of heart conditions so if needed, children can receive life-saving treatment early.”