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For Release: Aug. 20, 2013 - Pamela Williams, Office of Communications - (405) 271-5601

Click for Babies Project Needs Local Knitters to Help Prevent Infant Abuse

Every year, thousands of infants are shaken and abused at the hands of a frustrated parent or caregiver.  Frustration with a crying infant is the number one trigger for the shaking and abuse of infants.  In an effort to help spread awareness about normal infant crying and the dangers of shaking an infant, Oklahoma is once again participating in a campaign organized by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome called “CLICK for Babies, Period of PURPLE Crying Caps.” Now in its third year, CLICK is organized in 13 states, four Canadian provinces and one U.S. military installation with the intent of collecting knitted or crocheted purple-colored baby caps.

In 2012, Oklahoma collected almost 3,000 caps, which were distributed to newborns in participating hospitals as part of the Period of PURPLE® Crying (PPC) program.  Knitters and crocheters are being recruited this year to make the purple caps and to become ambassadors of the Period of PURPLE Crying program. As ambassadors, they can educate parents, caregivers and others in the community about normal infant crying, ways to cope with crying and the dangers of reacting in frustration by shaking or abusing an infant.   

The PPC program offers a DVD and educational materials to participating Oklahoma hospitals to provide education to parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and what to do when one becomes frustrated with a crying child. Parents are shown the video in the hospital and then given a copy to share with others who may take care of their baby after leaving the hospital. The handmade purple caps serve as an additional  reminder to parents about the normal “period of purple crying” that some babies may experience and the dangers of reacting with frustration by shaking or abusing an infant. Currently, 34 Oklahoma birthing hospitals participate in the PPC program.  A review of ten years of Oklahoma Child Death Review Board physical abuse data indicated 75.5 percent of the physical abuse deaths in children were caused by abusive head trauma, with many a result of shaking the baby.

“We encourage clubs and community groups that knit and crochet to join this effort,” said Ann Benson of the Maternal and Child Health Service at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “If we have a positive response, we hope to offer the knitted caps for newborns every year. Knitters are needed, so spread the word!”

Caps will be collected through the end of September and distributed to babies in November and December.  Please send the caps by October 1 to: Oklahoma Child Death Review Board, 1111 N. Lee, Suite 500, Oklahoma City, OK 73103.

More information about the CLICK for Babies campaign, including patterns for caps, guidelines and details about the national campaign are available at www.CLICKforbabies.org.  The PPC and the CLICK for Babies projects are part of Oklahoma’s “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” initiative to reduce infant deaths in the state. To learn more, visit http://iio.health.ok.gov .

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