Click For Babies

Ezra Cox, 7 weeks, of Parsons wears a purple cap made through the Parsons Public Library’s participation in the Click for Babies campaign.

For the eighth consecutive year, Parsons Public Library is partnering with the Kansas Children’s Service League and the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome in the campaign Click for Babies: the Period of Purple Crying to help raise community awareness about the dangers of shaking a baby.

The grassroots campaign invites knitters and crocheters across North America to make purple baby caps, which will be delivered to newborn families in hospitals to help educate parents about the “Period of Purple Crying,” a normal but frustrating period of increased crying that all infants experience in the first few weeks and months after birth. In Kansas, there are 59 hospitals that participate in the program in November and December. Labette Health is one of the participating hospitals.

To participate, local crafters are encouraged to knit or crochet caps and drop them off at the library, 311 S. 17th St. All caps need to be finished and turned in to the library by Sept. 25, so that the library can send them to the Kansas Children’s Service League in Topeka. Staff there will launder, tag and distribute the caps to Kansas hospitals along with information to educate parents about normal infant crying and coping techniques to avoid reacting in frustration by shaking or abusing an infant.

Guidelines for creating the hats are simple. Crafters may create as many caps as desired using a newborn baby cap pattern and any shade of soft, baby-friendly, washable purple yarn. Pom-poms, straps, ribbons, bows, buttons, tassels, strings, etc. are discouraged as they pose potential choking hazards. Other colors may be present, but the cap must be more than 50% purple. The caps are to be worn by 1- to 2-day-old infants, so caps should have a circumference of 14 inches when easily stretched and a height of 6 inches. Hats may be either knitted or crocheted, but use of knitting looms is discouraged as large, loose stitches do not provide enough warmth and may be too tight for a comfortable fit. A complete set of this year’s updated guidelines may be picked up at the library. Hats not meeting the guidelines will be returned to the donor.  

Crafters who don’t already have a favorite pattern can download a free pattern at www.clickforbabies.org or pick one up at the library.  

The crochet and knitters group meets at the library year around on Monday evenings and Tuesday mornings. Regardless of skill level, all are invited to join. 

Those who do not knit or crochet, but who wish to contribute to the effort, may donate skeins of soft, baby-friendly, washable yarn in any shade of purple. The yarn may be dropped off at the library anytime.   

Frustration with a crying infant is the No. 1 trigger for the shaking and abuse of infants. According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, it is the most common and most dangerous form of abuse in children under the age of 1. Approximately 80% of all infants who are shaken suffer significant brain injuries and approximately 25% die as a result of their injuries. More information on the “Period of Purple Crying” and tips on soothing babies can be found at www.purplecrying.info.

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