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.
Frustration with a crying infant is the number one reason someone shakes and abuses an infant. In an effort to educate parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and reduce frustration, the Welcome Newborns program of Michigan State University Extension 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 in November and December along with a DVD 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.
Aurora Bothwell models a ‘purple’ cap created to draw attention to the babies who are seriously injured and even die as a result of shaking or other types of abuse.
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, the most in month 2 and less in months 3-5.
U is 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 5 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 that perceptions about what is normal infant crying will begin to change and frustrated parents and caregivers will recognize that this 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" said Julie Moberg, Educator at Michigan State University Extension office in Delta County.
Moberg urges area knitters and crocheters to "click" their needles together and help protect babies. Caps should be made using any shade of purple colored yarn and made to fit a new infant's head. Dimensions of infant heads will vary. As a guide, caps should have a circumference between 7.5 and 13.5 inches and a height of 3.56 inches.
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 baby friendly purple yarn can be used, but the cap should be at least 75 percent purple in color.
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 MSUE Welcome Newborns office located at 2840 College Avenue in Escanaba. Caps will be collected from August through the end of October and distributed to Delta County babies in November and December.
For more information, call Lannie at the MSU Extension office at 786-3032.
For more information about CLICK for Babies campaign, including patterns for caps, visit www.CLICKforbabies.org.