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Knitters weave awarness of shaken baby syndrom (SBS) with purple baby caps

Union Leader Correspondent

September 23. 2012 8:36PM
Knitting student Karen Kana, owner Margaret Cooke and knitting student Joan Buchanan show off some of the purple yarn selection at the Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe in Goffstown. The shop is accepting donations of knitted purple infant caps to raise awareness about infant crying and shaken baby syndrome. (Kathy Remillard/Union Leader Correspondent)

GOFFSTOWN - Local knitters are clicking their needles to raise awareness about infant crying and shaken baby syndrome (SBS).

The Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe has teamed up with the New Hampshire Children's Trust, which is joining a national public education campaign to knit thousands of tiny, purple caps, which have become the symbol of what is known as the period of purple crying.

The hats will be given out to parents to remind them about what is often a frustrating, but normal, period in infant development.

According to information provided by the Children's Trust, excessive crying is said to be one of the top triggers for SBS, and the campaign's aim is to educate parents about ways to cope with a fussy baby.

'The purple caps are meant to serve as a reminder for parents to review the information they received after the birth of their new baby on normal infant crying, and the dangers of shaking,' said Maria Doyle, training and evaluation director for the New Hampshire Children's Trust. 'Caring for a crying infant can be really frustrating, and parents need to know that it is OK to put an infant down in a safe place and take some space when frustrated.'

Margaret Cooke, owner of the Spotted Sheep Yarn Shoppe, said a customer came to her with the idea shortly after she opened the shop last year. Cooke opened for business Oct. 1, so she was unable to prepare for last year's drive ahead of time and delivered just six caps, but noted that many knitters drop the hats off at hospitals of their own choosing.

This year, she hopes it will be different. 'I'd like to be able to send 50,' she said.

The statewide goal is 1,000 caps, and Cooke said it is easy for knitters to get started.

'I give them the pattern, then 10 percent off the yarn, and they can knit away,' she said.

Many of her customers don't need an incentive to do something good, however.

'There are tons of women I know who knit for charity,' she said.

Students in a beginner knitting class at the Spotted Sheep said they supported the cause.

'It's hard to understand that a baby can just be crying and that it's normal, especially if you're a new mother,' said Karen Kana of Bedford.

Knitting instructor Beverly Powden said she can't imagine anyone being frustrated enough to shake an infant.

'They're just adjusting to their new world,' she said.

Cooke said caps will be picked up at the end of October and delivered to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and she hopes to make the purple caps a store tradition.

'I'm sure it will be something we continue to do every year,' she said.

General News Goffstown Manchester

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