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You can knit or crochet hats to fight Shaken Baby Syndrome

The State Health Department is taking donations for it's Click for Babies campaign which distributes purple baby hats to raise awareness for Shaken Baby Syndrome. (KOKH/Ben Latham)

Can you crochet or knit? The Oklahoma State Department of Health is looking for donations of purple, handmade newborn hats for its Click for Babies campaign.

Birthing centers across the state will distribute hats to babies born in November and December, along with information that can prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Organizers want purple for a purpose.

"The Period of PURPLE crying is the period in an infant's life when they're going to cry more so than any other time in their life," Amy Terry, the department's adolescent health coordinator, said. "And during that period parents need to understand that that's a normal part of development."

PURPLE is an acronym that stands for the traits exhibited during the time frame:

  • Peak of crying - the Period of PURPLE starts around two weeks, peaks at two months and ends around three-to-four months.
  • Unexpected - during this period, crying can come and go and you don’t know why.
  • Resists soothing - it can be difficult to get crying to stop, no matter what you try.
  • Pain-like face - babies look like they're in pain while crying, when they are not.
  • Long-lasting - babies may cry up to or more than five hours a day.
  • Evening - crying is more common in the late afternoon and evening.

"Shaken baby is most often caused by frustration with crying," Terry said. "So that's why it's so important that we educate families and we educate caregivers about this period in time when babies are going to cry more often."

According to the State Health Department, every year Shaken Baby Syndrome happens to 1,200 to 1,400 children across the U.S. and more than 300 babies die because of shaking.

"Shaken Baby is one of those issues that is 100% preventable and education has shown to make an impact on reducing it," Terry said.

In order for hats to be distributed in the cold months, donations must come in by October 1. The department will continue to accept donations past that day, but they will not go to hospitals for distribution until the following year.

Terry said the goal is to collect 4,300 hats.

Organizers ask hats be about 14 inches in diameter and at least 50% purple. They must be free of choking hazards like pom-poms and made of soft yarn.

Mail donations to: Oklahoma State Department of Health, ATTN: Maternal and Child Health, 1000 NE 10th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73117-1299

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