Penquis is calling all Maine knitters and crocheters to help advocate for infant safety and spread awareness of the dangers of infant shaking.

According to a press release from the organization, which works to address economic and social needs of Penobscot, Piscataquis and Knox counties, thousands of infants are shaken or abused at the hands of parents or caregivers every year.

Earlier this year, a Bangor man was charged in connection to the death of a 5-month-old he was babysitting. A police affidavit said Samuel T. Moore, 25, told police after his arrest that he was “tossing [the baby] around and … he dropped [the baby] approximately 6 feet and he was not caught and did strike the floor.”

Frustration with a crying baby is the number one trigger for abuse, according to information from Penquis. In order to educate parents and others about normal crying behavior, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome asked organizations to collect purple colored baby caps and distribute them with safety information.

The Maine effort, called the Period of PURPLE Crying Initiative, is coordinated by the Maine Children’s Trust and works to educate parents about safe ways of coping with a crying child. The acronym PURPLE stands for the characteristics of the experience — crying reaches a peak (P), it comes unexpectedly (U), baby resists soothing (R), has a pain-like face (P), crying last a long time (L), and is mostly in the evening (E).

Many hospitals throughout Maine show new parents a film created by the organization about the dangers of shaking. Once caps are collected, they will be given out in November and December to families along with a copy of the film.

Ryan Steinbeigle, co-director of the National CLICK for Babies campaign, said the information given to new parents helps dispel a misconception that an infant who cries excessively has a problem.

“All babies go through a period of increased crying in the first few months of life,” Steinbeigle said in a statement. “Some infants cry more than others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong.”

For more information or to donate hats, contact Denise Trafton at 207-973-3500.

Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the...