Madhatter Knits Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which originally began in 2015 by four young founding members: Christie Huang (Caltech), Kathryn Huang (USC), Tiffany Chang (Westridge School for Girls), and Kimberly Chang (Westridge School for Girls). In accomplishing their goal to encourage a speedier process of reuniting premature babies in the NICU with their families, these four young ladies and Madhatter Club members have knitted over six thousand beanies and donated them to local hospitals, including Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, UCLA Early Head Start, Huntington Memorial Hospital, Arcadia Methodist Hospital, San Gabriel Hospital, Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Glendale Adventist Hospital and more.
Amid the recent pandemic crisis, Madhatter Knits has devoted their attention to pregnant mothers who require protection during the pandemic. During the summer Executive Director Sara Lowin (Westridge School for Girls) and Executive Director Gracie Sandman (Mayfield Senior School) along with founding President, Tiffany Chang donated Maternal COVID-19 Protection Care Kits to various local hospitals. With the help of hand sanitizer and gloves sponsored by Tzu Chi Foundation, each Maternal COVID-19 Protection Care Kit contains antimicrobial masks, nitrile loves, and disinfectant alcohol sprays. The virus and bacteria are a threat on soft surfaces like fabric masks, and Madhatter Knits’ antimicrobial masks help eliminate cross contamination. When you cough or sneeze into an antimicrobial mask, positively charged ions in the fabric will inhibit and eliminate bacteria on the surface of the mask. To date, over 700 Maternal COVID-19 Protection Care kits have been donated.
The exact risks of neonatal Covid-19 infections are unknown. Research however, shows that children under the age of 1 are at a higher risk of severe illness with COVID 19 due to their immature immune system. Furthermore, smaller infant airways predispose newborns to develop breathing issues with more severe respiratory virus infections. In July, a total of 85 babies under the age of one was tested positive for the coronavirus in a single county in Texas.
Since SARS-CoV-2 is a respiratory virus primarily passed via droplets in which an infected mother can pass the infection to her baby, Madhatter Knits was inspired to find a way to design a protective gear that safeguards newborns from adults around them that are coughing or sneezing. Whether it be from a mother carrying her newborn or from newborns being moved around the building for routine postnatal procedures in an open bassinet lying face-up, these babies are susceptible to airborne germs. Hospitals who received the COVID-19 Maternal Protection Care Kits were excited to receive the newborn face shields but CDC changed their standards when the face shields were ready to be distributed. Though the change of standards brings a halt to the project, this has not stopped Madhatter Knits to continue to brainstorm other alternatives to protect newborns.
During the pandemic, Madhatter Knits would like to continue to spread awareness of protection for pregnant mothers and their infants but they would like to continue their work of supporting preemies grow a network of devoted volunteers together. Madhatter Knits has several chapters in Southern California but this summer they expanded across the United States starting chapters in Florida, Georgia, New York, Missouri, Texas, and New York. Not only nationwide, but they are showing their presence globally with their recent new chapters worldwide in Germany, Ireland, Ecuador, South Africa, Canada, Italy, India, Costa Rica, Uganda, England. Their goal is to help make a difference for the 15 million infants born prematurely across the world each year and foster support to their families in feeling their love, warmth and comfort during their difficult times.
As the founding president, Tiffany Chang says “Every problem is a gift. As with the pandemic, we would not have learned how to make these newborn face shields or realized how much mothers need our support with the Maternal COVID-19 Protection Care Kits. Knowing that 15 million premature infants born annually around the world gives us an opportunity to fight the big fight for the tiniest members of our society”.
Our contact information and social media is as follows:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Madhatter Knits
YouTube: Madhatter Knits
Direct Contact: Lucy Huang (626)379-9178