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Raising awareness one purple cap at a time

October 5, 2016
Nancy Stocker knits purple caps for babies


Nancy Stocker hopes one day she’ll see a baby wearing one of the purple caps she made with love. 

Each year, Stocker volunteers to knit purple caps to raise awareness about the Period of Purple Crying and reduce shaken baby syndrome.  The initiative is part of the CLICK for Babies campaign, supported by BC Children’s Hospital’s Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC program.  Caps are given to BC babies every November.  Last year, the program distributed 9,100 caps to babies across the province.

“Honestly, I’m just always looking at babies. I love babies,” said Stocker, who is Island Health’s Leader, Program Evaluation for Residential Services. “This is the perfect way for me to give back.”

The Period of Purple Crying describes the time in an infant’s life when they cry the most (between two weeks of age and three to four months of age). Raising awareness helps support parents to know that this period of time is normal and will come to an end.

The message resonates for Stocker, who worked in maternal and child health in Alberta before she came to Island Health.  Rather than asking Stocker to send her caps to BC Children’s Hospital, the Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC program asks her to drop them off at the Nanaimo Public Health Unit so they can be distributed locally.

It is meaningful for Stocker to know the caps are finding homes on Vancouver Island, and meaningful for recipients of her work as well. “Our families here at Nanaimo public health appreciate the kindness and generosity,” said Erin Kenning, Clinical Coordinator, Nanaimo/Ladysmith Public Health Nursing. “Seeing the little ones leave with a purple cap not only sends a strong message about infant safety but also keeps them warm.”

Stocker’s goal for next year is to inspire more friends to knit or crochet caps for the cause. Patterns are available through the CLICK for Babies website if needed.  “I can knit almost anywhere,” Stocker said. ‘I’ve even taken my knitting needles kayaking – I put them in my dry sack. Some of the caps I knitted last year were knitted on Texada Island or Jedediah Island.”

Stocker teaches karate and has also sparked an interest in the program in some of her young students, as well as the 4-H club in Oceanside. “If anyone is interested in helping the 4-H group learn to knit caps, I am happy for any donations of purple wool people aren’t using,” she smiled.

For more information about Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC, the Period of Purple Crying or CLICK for babies, visit www.dontshake.ca, www.purplecrying.info, or www.ClickforBabies.org.