Think HEART to spot baby danger signs

Ian Lavery and  Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF
Ian Lavery and Anne Keatley-Clarke, Chief Executive of CHF

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.”

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