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Cute purple caps serve serious purpose for Oklahoma infants

The “Click for Babies, Period of Purple Crying Caps” project is an effort intended to raise awareness about normal infant crying and the dangers of shaking an infant.
by Bryan Painter Published: September 30, 2012

Ann Benson, director of Child and Adolescent Health with the state Health Department, is a co-leader for the cap project with Lisa Rhoades of the child death review board. Benson said the DVD given to parents at hospitals provides some important coping techniques.

“You've done everything and can't figure out what's wrong and it doesn't appear anything is wrong,” she said. “It's OK to lay the crying baby down and walk away. You lay it in a safe crib, on its back because that's the proper sleeping habit. You make sure there's nothing in the crib, because that's safe sleep, and then even if the baby's crying, it's OK to walk out of the room for a moment.

“Less damage is going to be done to that baby by you leaving it alone than if you're at your wit's end and you don't know what to do.”

The outpouring

The fliers say “Click Your Knitting Needles Together To Prevent Infant Abuse.”

Chasteen said “Click for Babies” has truly been a grassroots effort and they have been amazed at the number of knitters and crocheters who have volunteered.

“I am in absolute awe of the outpouring of support that we have received,” Chasteen said. “We have had one passionate advocate that set up a group for Oklahoma knitters called 'Click for Babies' on the social networking website for knitters and crocheters at She is working on scheduling a virtual knit it, which will be a virtual knit group that knits or crochets purple hats all at the same time, in several locations across the city and state.”

A couple of people at the Oklahoma Federation for Families promised to knit/crochet a cap a day until the deadline.

Chasteen said they received 107 caps from the Comanche County Health Department. Caps have come in from Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Ohio.

“Everybody waits to see if I have packages and then they come over to my office,” Chasteen said. “It's like Christmas, everybody wants to see the caps that come in. It's been a real morale booster I think. It's just nice to have something tangible to give.”

A visual reminder

To Malone's left, Aimee Merick was crocheting a purple newborn baby cap. Merick, who works for the Oklahoma City-County Health Department's Fetal and Infant Mortality Review, has crocheted afghans and doilies.

Merick became involved because she believes that “when people know better, they do better.” So hopefully when they learn about crying, that it is normal at times and that there are things they can do to help the baby and help themselves to go through it, maybe they'll use that information to protect the babies.

“Even if the baby's not wearing the cap, if it's in the home and they see it,” she said, “it might remind the parent what to do. That may make a difference.”

by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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