ARTICLE

Volunteers' knitting efforts promote safety of infants

A person's frustration with a baby's cries can lead to violent reaction

Cedar Rapids resident, Teri Stueck, knits a purple baby cap for the St. Luke's Knit-In Saturday, July 20, 2013. The caps will be given to new parents to spread awareness and prevent infant abuse.
Cedar Rapids resident, Teri Stueck, knits a purple baby cap for the St. Luke's Knit-In Saturday, July 20, 2013. The caps will be given to new parents to spread awareness and prevent infant abuse.
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Teri Stueck sat on a corner couch and knitted the beginnings of a lavender colored baby cap.

The Cedar Rapids woman remembers all too well 14 years ago when her then-newborn son would cry for hours. Exhausted, her and her husband once stood “holding each other and crying in the corner, ‘I don’t know why he’s crying,’” she recalled as she looped a piece of yarn over her needle.

Stueck and nine others knitted purple caps Saturday in the St. Luke’s Center for Women’s and Children’s Health lobby for the Click for Babies Knit-In. The event, in its third year, is part of a statewide effort to raise awareness and prevent infant abuse.

The caps will be given to babies in November along with educational materials for new parents about the normal period of increased crying, known as the Period of Purple Crying, within the first few weeks and months after birth.

However, frustration with the baby’s cries also is the No. 1 reason why a parent or caregiver shakes or harms an infant.

An estimated 1,200 to 1,400 babies suffer from abusive head trauma each year in the United States.

Denise Easley, a nurse at St. Luke’s NICU, said Shaken Baby Syndrome is 100 preventable, which is why it’s so important to educate parents to have a plan before they find themselves enduring hours of crying.

“They can have a plan in place and they feel comfortable calling a friend or grandma over to take a break,” said Easley, also a state co-director of Click for Babies. “They know they’re not a bad mom that they have this screaming baby they can’t calm.”

Easley said Iowa’s goal is to craft 3,500 caps by November. Last year volunteers knitted more than 7,000.

Knit-in participant Mary McCusker said her son was a frequent crier, too. She remembers feeling guilty when she had to put the crying baby in his crib and walk away for a moment.

“I wish we would have had this program when my kids where born,” the 56-year-old Walker resident said as other knitters chuckled and nodded in agreement. “It would have saved me a lot of trouble.”

Also among the knitters were parents Kristen and Jeff Corrigan. The two have remained outspoken about preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome since their son, Ryan, suffered traumatic brain injury caused by a hired caregiver. Kristen Corrigan said she always enjoys participating in the knit-in.

“Having a child with Shaken Baby, I feel it’s an opportunity and a responsibility to share our story and be a part of this awareness,” she said. “If we can stop this from happening to just one child, it’s all worth it.”

For more information and tips on what to do during an infant's increased period of crying visit http://purplecrying.info

Event:

The July 20 event was one of several upcoming knit-ins in the St. Luke’s Center for Women’s and Children’s Health lobby, 150 11th St. NE Cedar Rapids.

Saturday, August 17: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Tuesday, September 10: 5:30-8:30 p.m.Saturday, October 12: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.

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