Volunteers Needed To Make Hats To Raise Awareness Of Shaken Baby Syndrome

by Julie Scagell
Image via Facebook/Iowa Click for Babies

Volunteers are needed to help them reach their goal

If you are a person who likes to knit or crochet, get those needles and hooks ready. There is an organization collecting newborn hats that could use your expertise. The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) and 14 other states are in need of purple baby hats — and all are being collected for a very worthy cause.

Health officials are teaming up with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome to help prevent serious brain injury that can result from forcefully shaking an infant or young child. Their campaign, called Click for Babies (which refers to the clicking sound that knitters make with their needles) is doing their part to bring awareness to this issue.

According to the New York State Department of Health, it is estimated that between 1000-3000 children in the U.S. suffer from shaken baby syndrome (SBS) each year. Shaking your infant can “cause brain injury, cerebral palsy, blindness, hearing loss, learning and behavior problems, seizures, paralysis, and death.” One quarter victims of die from being shaken each year and 80 percent of survivors suffer some degree of permanent damage as a result.

The center believes one of the biggest triggers that could lead to a person shaking a baby is frustration when a child has persistent crying or colic, which they refer to as the “purple” period of crying.

“The campaign’s aim is to create awareness for parents to help them understand they are not alone in feeling overwhelmed and identify triggers which they can recognize when they are feeling at their breaking point. Each letter of the word “purple” stands for situations parents may be experiencing with their infant. For example, the P stands for peak crying, the L for “long lasting.” New parents may not know babies can cry as much a five hours each day. This information helps arm them with knowledge which they believe can reduce the risk of SBS.

The OSDH has requested volunteers in the past, but the media response was minimal, and last year we fell short of our cap goal,” Amy Terry, an adolescent-health coordinator with the OSDH, told ABC News. “Campaign materials were redesigned for 2017, social media marking efforts were increased, and the public response has been overwhelmingly supportive. We have received calls from people all across the country who are willing to volunteer.” Oklahoma is one of 16 states participating in the Click campaign.

The organization also provides interested individuals knit and crochet patterns . Hats need to be primarily purple and made of soft, baby friendly yarn, measure 14 inches around and can be four to six inches high. Then simply drop off or mail them to one of their designated drop off locations. If you aren’t a knitter by trade (ahem), the group encourages other ways of getting involved like hosting a crocheting party instead.

Click for Babies will collect all caps until October 1st and then distribute them to birthing hospitals and public health offices. Those organizations will then distribute to families in participating states with their copy of the PURPLE program in November and December.

So get knitting!