PORTLAND -- A group of volunteers has been knitting hats for newborns in Oregon, to spread awareness about shaken baby syndrome.
“I say a little prayer as I knit and think about each baby,” said Janet Bean as she crafted a purple hat to be given to a newborn.
Bean answered the call from Randall Children’s Hospital about helping the CLICKS for Babies campaign, “It’s a prevention program that has been proven to reduce the incidence of shaken baby syndrome,” explained nurse and safety educator Sandy Nipper.
As a mother and grandmother, Bean knows her hats will go to parents as an important reminder.
“The stress of no sleep and constant crying sets parents up for intense frustration,” explained Nipper. "A loss of control can happen in a split second and a couple of shakes can severely damage the brain of an infant.”
The purple hats are given to parents as they leave more than 30 Oregon hospitals during the months of November and December. Randall Children’s Hospital, in North Portland, has been coordinating the statewide effort to find volunteer knitters and donations of purple yarn.
The caps also come with a DVD and booklet filled with advice about how to properly deal with a crying baby.
“It gives you permission to put the baby down, make sure they are safe and then unwind maybe with a cup of tea,” remarked Bean. “I think if more people knew about this, it wouldn’t happen as much.”
Nipper said a purple hat campaign on the East Coast cut cases of shaken baby syndrome by 50 percent.
The color purple for the hats is no mistake either, according to Nipper. “Purple is an acronym and each letter in the word refers to a characteristic of prolonged crying,” she said.
Bean made at least 50 hats for last year’s campaign and plans to contribute as many as she can this year, too.
“I think it’ so important to have an object that can express what we have in our hearts,” she concluded as she continued to knit another tiny hat.
More: CLICKS for Babies