Knit a purple hat for a baby to raise awareness of shaken baby syndrome.
When babies cry, our instinct is to pick them up and soothe them straight away – but if that baby doesn’t stop crying, and, after hours and hours, still doesn’t stop crying, tiredness, frustration and desperation can drive adults to anger. Shaken baby syndrome is one of the leading causes of child abuse death in the US and UK, and can cause lifelong disabilities. Babies between two and six months are most at risk of being shaken, and research reveals that this is in part due to the Period of Purple Crying, where babies cry more as a normal stage of their development.
The “Period of Purple Crying” is between two weeks to five months of age, where a baby’s crying increases more during this time than any other. The crying may come and go, and it may last for minutes or hours, and get worse into the evening. It will vary from baby to baby, but increased crying at this age is normal.
To raise awareness of the danger of shaking babies when they cry, the US National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome has developed guidelines to help parents and caregivers understand the Period of Purple Crying, and this has been shared worldwide to raise awareness of the dangers of shaking a baby.
The Period of Purple Crying is a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of shaking a baby
- Peak of crying – The baby may cry more each week, peaking at two months, and then less at three to five months.
- Unexpected – The crying can come and go, with no explanation.
- Resists soothing – The baby might not stop crying no matter what you try.
- Pain-like face – It may look like the baby is in pain, even when they are not.
- Long lasting – The baby might cry 5 hours per day or more.
- Evening – The baby might cry more in the late afternoon or evening.
So how can knitters help?
Knit a purple hat! A purple baby hat can remind us that the Period of Purple Crying is normal, and reassure us that the crying will eventually stop! It is hoped that purple hats will be reminder to parents and carers of the dangers of shaking a baby, and the terrible damage it can do.
What should my hat look like?
Any baby hat pattern will do, as long as it has no potential choking or strangling hazards, and it is knitted in purple yarn! Remember that yarn for babies needs to be super soft, and check for allergies (some babies cannot tolerate wool)
If you prefer working with chunky weight yarn, these easy chunky patterns from madmonkeyknits are a great place to start!
For more information about the Period of Purple Crying, check purplecrying.info and dontshake.org, and to find out where to send your hats in the US, check the Click for Babies charity page, and in the UK, the London Health Sciences Centre has more information.
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