Click for Babies: You don’t have to craft to help save babies’ lives

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My pile of purple is growing.


So far I’ve got 14 tiny purple infant caps made for Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel‘s Click for Babies PURPLE crying hat drive, and I’ve got a 15th on my needles. I bring my knitting/crocheting absolutely everywhere, and when someone notices what I’m doing and hears my explanation of this project, I tend to get one of two responses. Either, “Oh, I’ve got to do that!” or “Oh, I wish I could do that! But I don’t have time right now.” If you’re in the second group, know this: You can make a difference in the Click for Babies project without forming a single stitch yourself. And here’s how, and why it’s important.


Remember the Back to Sleep campaign? It started in 1994 as a way to raise awareness about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and it’s since helped cut SIDS rates in the United States by almost 50 percent. That’s what Click for Babies organizers want for the PURPLE crying campaign. Just as parents now automatically put their babies to sleep on their backs, Click for Babies organizers want people to hear an infant’s cries and think, “PURPLE crying. It’s awful, but it’s normal, and it passes. You can’t shake that baby, ever. You’ll hurt or kill him if you do. PURPLE crying’s just a stage. And I know how to handle it.”


About PURPLE crying

It’s a developmental stage in infants. The acronym describes the characteristics of this kind of crying. Specifically:


Peak (the crying generally peaks when the baby’s 2 months old, then eases at 3-5 months)


Unexpected (crying comes and goes)


Resists soothing


Pain-like face


Long lasting


Evening (bouts of crying more likely to come in late afternoon/evening)


The hats we’re making serve as key visual reminders of the period of PURPLE crying. But they’re not the only way to spread the word. If making hats is not an option for you right now, here’s how you can help:


  • Talk it up. Share articles about PURPLE crying on social media. Facebook. Twitter. Pinterest. Ravelry. Like the Period of PURPLE Crying page on Facebook, follow @PURPLEcrying on Twitter, check out the campaign’s Pinterest board. Spread the word the old-fashioned way, too. Do you belong to any groups? Can you make an announcement at church? At your next PTA meeting/basketball game/committee meeting? Make sure all your friends, crafters and noncrafters, have heard about the campaign. Make sure they know not just that purple hats are being made, but why they’re being made. Click for Babies has downloadable PDFs about the campaign that can help.


  • Donate. If you know someone who’s making hats, buy them some baby-friendly purple yarn and ask them to make hats for you. Any yarn shop in town can steer you toward appropriate materials, and two – Northwest Wools and Twisted – are currently offering 10 percent off purple yarn purchases. Bewildered by all the choices? Buy a gift card for your hat-making pal(s) and tell them to put it toward purple. They’ll know what to do.


  • Making hats

    Hats should be soft, at least 50 percent purple (any shade) and washable. Size matters! The average newborn head circumference is 14”, so plan accordingly.


    Beware of choking hazards: no pompoms, straps, bows, ribbons or buttons.

    Get detailed guidelines on hat requirements, plus suggested patterns, here.


    Mail finished caps to:
    Thonna Vela, Volunteer Services Randall Children’s Hospital
    at Legacy Emanuel
    2801 N. Gantenbein Ave.
    Suite LL-B856
    Portland, OR 97227



  • Pass it on. Know someone who wants to help but doesn’t know how to knit/crochet? Get them lessons and supplies. The greater Portland area has an astounding number of yarn shops, and any one of them can help get an aspiring crafter up to speed. And one of the nice things about baby hats is that they’re easy – it won’t take long for a rookie to learn to make them.


  • Organize a knit-in/crochet-in. Click for Babies has some nifty flier templates you can use. Spread the word through your church, your workplace, your kids’ school(s). This can be as simple as four colleagues meeting every Wednesday in the breakroom at work to craft for half an hour, or as elaborate as a daylong craftathon somewhere. Get creative, and you’ll get people clicking.


  • Collect hats. See if your workplace/church/school/whathaveyou is willing to serve as a dropoff point, then mail them in to the campaign. (The mailing address is at right.)


These are all little things, but as the purple hats make clear, little things can have a big impact if they’re done right. At its core, the Click for Babies campaign isn’t really about the hats, it’s about spreading the word about PURPLE crying. It’s a lifesaving message that needs to get out there. Can you help do it?


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