Have you ever seen a newborn wearing a purple cap, or gone to a maternity ward to see teeny purple caps being worn on all the tiny heads of babies? These caps are there thanks to “CLICK for Babies”, an organization that facilitates the distribution of caps made by crafters of all varieties, in hopes to raise awareness for the “Period of PURPLE Crying” or “Shaken Baby Syndrome” prevention. Christine Baker, Program Coordinator for Period of PURPLE Crying at Seattle Children’s Hospital, answers a few questions about the caps, and how you can start making them, too!
Tell us a bit about your organization. When did it begin and what is your mission?
“CLICK for Babies” is a grass roots campaign that started in 2010 as the “Period of PURPLE Crying” was implemented as a parent education model to counteract the dramatic increase in abusive head trauma cases we saw after Washington’s economic downturn in 2008. The “Period of PURPLE Crying” educates families in birthing hospitals about normal increases in infant crying when they are anywhere from 2 weeks old to 3-4 months old. A nurse sits with new parents before they are discharged and shows them a DVD, goes over key points with them and gives them a copy of the DVD to take home. Parents are able to pick a cap from someone who knitted in within their community and are encouraged to share what they learned with anyone who will take care of their baby. PURPLE is an acronym (P=Peak of Crying, U=Unexpected, R=Resists Soothing, P=Pain-like face, L=Long Lasting, E=Evening) but it’s also the color or “brand” for abusive head trauma prevention. We try to help parents understand that frustration regarding their newborn’s crying is very normal, and teach them ways they can calmly and effectively cope with times when their baby might cry for prolonged periods. “CLICK for Babies” began as a way that people can be tangibly involved in preventing infant head trauma, and be supportive of newborns even if they don’t have one, or know anyone that has a newborn. “CLICK for Babies” was born in communities and works closely with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, as a great complement to the family education program and a great way to get the community involved.
How do you gather handmade items from the public and how do you distribute them?
We ask all the birthing hospitals that are distributing the Period of PURPLE Crying in our state if they’d like to participate in the “CLICK for Babies” campaign, and we supply them with purple caps. Nationwide the caps are distributed in the colder months of November and December. Some states have an excess of caps and may give them out year-round, but that is outside of the “CLICK for Babies” campaign. Each state is set up differently, so the network that facilitates getting the caps to the hospitals to give with the Period of PURPLE Crying Educational Program may vary. Ideally, caps stay in the community in which they’re knitted, and it’s our hope that these caps will get passed on to other people, therefore promoting a discussion among members of the community about where they got the cap, harkening back to awareness of infant safety and the Period of PURPLE Crying.
What would you tell people that want to get involved in Click for Babies?
The easiest way is for people to go to the national website (www.ClickforBabies.org). There they can click the “Get Involved” tab and find information about whether their state educates families on the Period of PURPLE Crying or distributes purple caps for “CLICK for Babies”. There is information there about the yarns that crafters can use, and where they might drop off their purple caps, once complete. We’d love to get as many caps as possible so that we might distribute them to every baby whose family learns about the Period of PURPLE Crying in November and December.
Thanks so much, Christine! You can hear more about this on our latest podcast on Charity Knitting and find a pattern perfect for purple caps in Knit Picks’ Helping Hands: Made with Love, Given with Heart (book and free ebook). We hope you’re inspire you to get involved. Even if you just make one thing for charity, it could make a very big difference!