Knitting campaign teaches about infant crying

ESCANABA — Every year, thousands of infants are shaken and abused at the hands of a frustrated parent or caregiver. Frustration with a crying infant is the number one trigger for shaking and abuse of infants. Parents know and expect that their baby will cry, but most have no idea how much or how frustrating that crying can be.

In an effort to educate parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and reduce frustration, the Welcome Newborns program of the Community Action Agency in Delta County is partnering with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome CLICKS for Babies campaign.

The grassroots campaign invites local knitters and crocheters to make purple colored baby caps which will be delivered to Delta County families between the months of September and May and a copy of the “Period of PURPLE Crying,” an evidence based program that educates parents and caregivers about normal infant crying, ways to cope with the crying and the dangers of reacting in frustration by shaking or abusing an infant.

The PURPLE program is designed to help parents of new babies understand a developmental stage that is not widely known. It provides education on the normal crying curve and the dangers of shaking a baby.

The word “PURPLE” is an acronym to help parents and caregivers recognize and remember the characteristics of normal infant crying.

P stands for “peak” — A baby may cry more each week, most in month 2 and less in months 3-5.

U stands for “unexpected” — Crying can come and go and you don’t know why.

R is for “resists soothing” — A baby may not stop crying no matter what you try.

P is for “pain-like face” — A crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they’re not.

L is for “long-lasting” – Crying can last as much as five hours a day or more.

E is for “evening” — A baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome hopes that by partnering with knitters and crocheters to make purple-colored baby caps perceptions about what is normal infant crying will begin to change and frustrated parents and caregivers will recognize crying is part of a normal development phase that doesn’t go on forever. It will end!

All babies go through a normal period of increased crying in the first few months of life. This increased crying typically begins at about two weeks of age, peaks in the second month of life, and becomes less in the third and fourth month. Some infants cry more than others, and in some infants you may not even notice the increased amount of crying, but all infants do cry more during this period.

The handmade purple caps are meant to serve as a reminder for parents about the Period of PURPLE Crying and the dangers of shaking a baby.

Click your needles together and help protect babies. Caps should be made using any shade of soft purple colored yarn and made to fit a new infant’s head. Dimensions of infant heads will vary. As a guide, the average newborn head circumference is 13 to 14 inches. Hats should be approximately four to six inches high. Refrain from including “pom poms” or any type of strap to secure caps to babies’ heads as they pose a potential choking and/or strangling hazard for babies.

Any shade of soft purple yarn can be used, additional colors can be added, but the cap should be at least 75 percent purple.

Participants are encouraged to knit or crochet as many hats as they would like to donate. Completed caps can be dropped off or mailed to the Welcome Newborns office located at the Community Action Agency at 507 1st Avenue North in Escanaba. Caps will be collected through the end of May. For more information, call Lannie at the Welcome Newborns office at (906) 786-7080 extension 143.

For more information about CLICK for Babies Campaign, including patterns for caps, guidelines and details about the national campaign are available at www.CLICKforbabies.org.

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