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New hospital program relying on community knitting projects

TRURO - Tanya LeBlanc-Earle hopes the colour purple will make a significant impact on the lives of new parents.

Tanya LeBlanc-Earle

A new program, the Period of Purple Crying, is being launched at the Colchester East Hants Health Centre in Truro.

The initiative is an infant abuse prevention program, which educates parents and caregivers about normal infant crying and the dangers of shaking a baby.

"Crying is normal. Most people automatically think something is wrong when an infant cries but that's not necessarily so. It's a normal part of infancy," said LeBlanc-Earle, a clinical practice leader for women and children's health at the Truro hospital.

"We want to give parents ideas on how to comfort an infant but understand sometimes there's nothing you can do to comfort them. It's OK to make sure the baby is safe and walk away."

It's all about education, said LeBlanc-Earle, saying the core idea behind the program is to educate new families before they go home from the hospital and to "decrease the number of shaken baby syndrome" cases.

The project, however, needs the community's support. People are asked to knit or crochet purple baby hats that will be part of a kit that goes home with each new parent. Parents will also be given an educational booklet and DVD on dealing with an infant's crying. The purple hats serve as a reminder of some things to remember about infant crying, such as peak crying periods, crying without reason, long-lasting crying and more.

"We deliver approximately 450 babies a year, so we are looking for a lot of hats," said LeBlanc-Earle, adding the program has about 20 hats now.

Guidelines for creating the hats are simple: use washable purple yarn. Pom-poms, straps, ribbons, bows, buttons, tassels, strings, etc. are discouraged as they pose potential choking hazards. Other colours may be used, but the hat must be more than 50 per cent purple or mauve. Hats must have a circumference between 7 ½ - 14 inches and a height of four to six inches. Crafters who don't have a pattern can download one at

Hats can be taken to the hospital's women and children's health unit or mailed to: WCH Unit, Colchester East Hants Health Centre, 600 Abenaki Rd., Truro, N.S., B2N 5A1.

Twitter: tdnMonique


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