Blessing of Infant Purple Hats to Fight Child Abuse

Contributed by: Fr. Peter De Franco, St. John the Baptist in Linden

The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist, Linden, hosted a Blessing of Purple Hats for Infants on Sept. 25, during the Holy Eucharist. Marcia Eversley, a member of the church, works with others who knit and crochet purple hats for infants as part of the Click for Babies “a Period of PURPLE for Crying” Campaign.

PURPLE is an acronym (see the image) to describe an infant’s developmental phase that includes sometimes long periods of crying, which begin around two weeks after birth and can continue until two to five months after birth. The purple hats help remind parents that this sometimes frustrating, stressful and overwhelming period in an infant’s development is completely natural and almost universal.

The Purple Hats are collected at the end of September and distributed during November and December. Infants go through this period of intense crying and parents feel frustrated, stressful and overwhelmed. The purple hat reminds parents of the process related to crying:

  • P= Peak of Crying (The baby’s crying may increase with the height at month 2 but continuing through month 5).
  • U= Unexpected. (Crying happens without a reason.)
  • R= Resists Soothing (The baby will cry without relation to the parent’s effort to sooth)
  • P= Pain-Like Face (The baby may look as if it is in pain when it has no experience of pain.)
  • L=Long Lasting (The crying can last up to five hours each day.)
  • E= Evening (The baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.)

Parents who become frustrated with crying babies may shake the baby or throw the baby into the crib. Shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma (SBS/AHT) is a term used to describe the collection of signs and symptoms resulting from violent shaking or shaking and impacting of the head of an infant or small child. In the United States, it is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases, and has been stated as a public health issue by the CDC.

The Click For Babies Web page has more information on the program. People interested in knitting hats and booties can find a variety of patterns for girls and boys with various levels of difficulty. The Episcopal Church of St. John the Baptist invites its members and congregations around the diocese to join this program and prepare the hats during the year for a second blessing in 2023. Pictures of the blessing along with the prayer of blessing are posed on the Church’s Facebook page.