A statewide “knit in” is scheduled in August to make caps for newborns — and it’s connected to an effort to help parents cope with crying babies.
Denise Easley is one of two coordinators in Iowa for the PURPLE cap program.
“PURPLE is an acronym describing the characteristics of crying,” Easley says. “So now we recruit knitters and crocheters to get together and make these little purple hats and we will distribute them to all of the birthing hospitals in Iowa.”
This “Click for Babies” knitting campaign started in North Carolina and British Columbia a few years to increase awareness of the period of “purple crying” in a baby’s life.
“Iowa is considered a purple state, meaning we have 80 percent of our birthing hospitals deliver the ‘Period of Purple Crying’ program which is a shaken-baby prevention program that new moms and dads get in the hospital after the birth of their baby,” Easley says.
Easley has been a staff nurse in the neonatal unit at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids for 31 years. She says periods of intense crying typically start when a baby is about two weeks old, peak when the baby reaches two months and then lessens between the third and fifth month. Some babies cry as much as five hours a day and Easley says that’s normal.
“The reason this is so important — this crying education — is because crying is the number one trigger for shaken-baby syndrome and, really, all infant abuse,” Easley says.
A staffer at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines organizes purple cap “knit ins” in the western half of the state and Easley organizes eastern Iowa “knit ins.”
“Everybody loves to get together to knit and do something for the babies — the purple caps. It’s fun. There’s a lot of camaraderie,” Easley says. “But the most important thing to remember is that the caps are to increase awareness for the shaken baby prevention program, so we want everybody to know about normal crying and the dangers of shaking a baby.”
In 2011, nearly 7000 purple caps were knitted in Iowa and distributed by Iowa hospitals in November. The next statewide “knit in” is scheduled for Saturday, August 17 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines and at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids.
National and international leaders of the “Click for Babies” campaign will visit Iowa in September. Find contact information for Easley here.