Parents have been urged to follow simple steps to check for early warning signs of possible heart problems in babies.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery is backing a Think HEART campaign by the Children’s Heart Federation, which could prove a life-saver.
The HEART initiative highlights five signs that could lead to early diagnosis of conditions.
l Heart rate. The normal rate is between 100 and 160 beats per minute. Is the baby’s heart rate too fast or too slow?
• Energy. Is the child sleepy, quiet and too tired to feed?
• Appearance. Does the baby seem pale, waxy, dusky, blue or grey?
• Respiration. The normal rate is between 40 and 60 breaths per minute. Is the baby breathing too fast or too slow?
• Temperature. Is the infant cold to touch, particularly their hands and feet?
Mr Lavery has also called for all babies to be tested for heart conditions at birth using Pulse Oximetry, a quick, painless and cheap test that measures oxygen levels in blood and detects more than 90 per cent of heart defects in newborns.
He said: “Every year around 5,000 babies are born with congenital heart disease, however 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.”
For more information visit www.chfed.org.uk/thinkheart