Die-hard knitters don't need an excuse to start a new project, but there's a good cause behind a new challenge to knit purple hats for infants.
Local hospitals and health departments in 16 states are asking for donations of knitted and crocheted purple baby hats, and you have until October to make as many as you possibly can.
That's a lot of work to do for free, but there's a special reason why they're in demand. It's all part of an international campaign called Click for Babies (click as in the sound your knitting needles will make while you're making hat after hat). The charity hopes to raise awareness for Shaken Baby Syndrome and help keep babies safe.
Injuries caused by shaking babies are a huge problem in America, and SBS is the leading cause of deaths in child abuse cases across the county. Click for Babies says that these tragic cases are totally avoidable, and wants to use their special hats to help inform parents.
Next winter, the hats will be handed out to new parents along with information about the PURPLE period, when infant crying causes the most frustration.
Each letter in PURPLE stands for something parents should know, like how newborns can cry for as long much as 5 hours a day (that's L, for Long Lasting). Since SBS can cause serious injuries, disability and death, it's important for every parent to learn about PURPLE crying and protect their child.
But there are some important guidelines to follow when making the hats.
Click for Babies has organized their campaign into 3 simple steps: knit your hats, tell other knitters, then give what you can.
First, use the campaign's website to find if your state is collecting hats this year. Even if it isn't, you can send your handiwork to another state, but you need to make sure it gets to a designated collection location.
Next, start working on your hats and make sure they meet the campaign guidelines. Any shade of purple is fine, as long as you use soft and warm baby-friendly yarn. Don't add any straps, strings, bows, buttons, pom poms or tassels, since these could be a choking hazard.
Hats are collected year-round, but most of them are handed out to new families in the winter, so keep an eye on the deadline for your drop-off point. Be sure to get your friends involved, and check if any local stores are discounting their purple yarn to help the charity.
Finally, if you want to help prevent SBS but don't have the time to knit, you can donate to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Share this charity with the knitter in your life!