The Connecticut Office of Early Childhood is kicking off it’s participation in the nationwide CLICK for Babies campaign to raise awareness about the triggers that can lead to Shaken-Baby Syndrome. Hospitals, public health and child abuse prevention groups aim to teach parents that infant crying is normal - as is the frustration that goes along with it - and there are safe ways to handle the stress associated with it.
The campaign is named for the “click” of knitting needles. “The idea is that volunteers will be knitting little purple caps for infants around the country. There are 18 different states that are participating,” explains Karen Foley-Schain, Division Director of Family Support Services at the Office of Early Childhood. The purple color is tied to a major shaken baby syndrome prevention and awareness campaign - called The Period of PURPLE Crying - named for the time in an infant’s life when crying escalates. Doctors have determined that most infants follow a pattern: crying increases at two weeks, peaks at two months then tapers-off when the baby is four to six months old.
Informing parents of these important facts is a prevention strategy for Shaken Baby Syndrome which has been linked to parent/caregiver frustration.
“The frustration comes from the incessant, non-consoling crying of an infant and if a parent can see this as a normal part of infant development, have a plan to address it, be able to check their own frustration - know how it’s affecting them - and take some steps, then both the parent and child will feel better as a result,” says Foley-Schain. “If (parents are) starting to feel frustrated, it’s really OK to put the child down in a safe place - ideally it’s crib - and take some time for themselves to calm down, feel better, get some support.”
Along with a video and booklet, the caps will be handed out to new parents in November - primarily through a home visiting program, the Nurturing Families Network. According to Foley-Schain, the caps are meant to inspire questions and dialogue about this important topic.
Parents are also invited to attend one of the following CLICK for Babies community events:
• Aug. 8, from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Babies R Us, 1559 New Britain Ave., West Hartford.
• Aug. 15, at 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fair Haven Health Fair, John Martinez School, 100 James St., New Haven.
• Aug. 19 and 31, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Babies R Us, 1559 New Britain Ave., West Hartford (RSVP required. 860-561-0329).
• Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to noon. Babies R Us, 169 Hale Road, Manchester.
• Sept. 17 and 24 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Babies R Us, 169 Hale Road, Manchester (RSVP required. 860-644-6084).