What causes static electricity when you take your hat off?

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two poms striped girls hatIt’s winter – which means it’s prime time for hair that stands on end when hats come off.

Of course the static doesn’t last long and hair gets right back to normal. But did you ever wonder exactly what’s happening to cause hair to do that?

Your beanie hat, your hair, and the science of matter

ScienceMadeSimple.com gives a great explanation for static, especially helpful if you want to teach your little boy or girl why hair stands up all funny after taking a hat off. Here’s the gist boiled down for you.

You probably remember from science class that everything around us is made up of atoms. Inside atoms are protons, electrons and neutrons.  Protons have a positive charge and electrons are negative (neutrons have no charge).

Your hat or hair has no charge when the number of positive and negative charges in its atoms are equal. In this case, there’s no static happening.

But when two things rub together, some electrons move from one item to the other. This changes the balance, and one item can end up with more or less electrons.

Now, remember that opposites attract, and like charges repel.

When your hat rubs on your hair, your hair gives up electrons to your hat, so each of your hairs has the same positive charge. Each hair is repelling the others, trying to move as far apart from each other as possible. Thus, they stand up and separate, leaving your son or daughter looking like a little prickly porcupine.

Why do you notice static more in the winter?

Yes, you probably wear a hat more in the winter, so that’s one reason. But it also has to do with the air. In the winter, the air is typically drier, and the charge from the electrons can stick around more. When the air is humid, the electrons will dissipate more quickly, so you don’t notice the static as much.

Other times you get static electricity:

  • When you scuff your feet across the carpet and then touch the doorknob
  • As you come down the slide at the playground (this is my favorite – I love seeing the kids reach the bottom with a fluffy porcupine hairstyle, completely different from how it looked on the way up!)
  • Try rubbing a balloon on your hair and then sticking it on the wall
  • And of course laundry all stuck together when you take it out of the dryer

Try explaining static electricity to your preschooler and let us know how it goes!

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The beanie hat’s surprisingly intriguing origins

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The basic beanie hat forms the heart of many of our most loved baby hat designs. So I started wondering the other day where the beanie hat itself came from. Here’s what I learned.

It all started in Wales almost a thousand years ago

First of all, the term beanie hat can refer to two main types of hats: the rounded, seamed cap often with a button on top, or a soft, stretchy knit cap. Chizipoms makes the soft stretchy kind.

The first hats of the style of beanies we’re talking about seem to date back to the 12th and 13th centuries. They were called Monmouth caps after the name of the town where they originated. The earliest versions were worn by women and made of velvet, taffeta, or satin adorned with embroidery.

Even the first beanie hat makers were obsessed with quality!

Between the 15th and 18th centuries, Monmouth caps evolved to look pretty close to a knitted beanie cap you could find today. These beanie hats were knit of wool by hand knitters in the town of Monmouth in south east Wales, because the sheep there, called Ryeland sheep, produced particularly high-quality wool.

Wikipedia tells us, “The industry of cap manufacture by hand knitters in and around Monmouth was well established by the 15th century, when court records show Capper as a common surname in the town.”

The hats were worn by soldiers and sailors and widely exported. The wool was felted to make the hat waterproof.

Everyone must wear a beanie hat on Sunday…?

These early beanie hats were used so commonly that nearly everyone in England and Wales wore them. In fact, the Cappers Act of 1488 forbade the wearing of caps made outside the country, upon penalty of fine! Nearly 100 years later, there was even an Act of Parliament that required those older than age six to wear this type of hat on Sundays and holidays (excluding some people such as maids and ladies, and when traveling).

Gradually, the precursor to the beanie hat was manufactured in places other than Monmouth, leading to new names cropping up, including watch cap.

In the 1620’s, the early settlers of Massachusetts brought their Monmouth caps with them to the New World.

I wonder what the early Monmouth knitters would think of our Chizipoms hats today?

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Protect your baby from Flat Head Syndrome

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Chizipoms loooovvves those sweet little baby noggins. So we want parents to be aware of the dangers and remedies for a problem that’s becoming more and more common in babies: flat head syndrome.

Now that most babies are placed on their backs to sleep, you see flat head syndrome in infants who prefer to keep their heads in a certain position when they’re sleeping and laying in car seats, strollers, bouncers, swings, etc. Preemies are also more prone to flat head syndrome.

While a flat spot on the head has been thought to be mostly cosmetic (imagine if your little guy has to shave his head down the road! Yikes!), there may be situations where it’s more serious. Some people wonder if the baby will be at risk for eye, ear, and jaw problems down the road. And some research is starting to show potential learning problems for kids with flat head syndrome.

How flat head syndrome develops

Due to the pressure on the favored spot during sleep time, a baby’s still-forming skull will actually flatten and lose its natural rounded shape. This may result in one spot on the side of the head that is flattened, or the entire back flattening out. Either way, the flat spot is often accompanied by a bulge in another spot to accommodate, resulting in a misshapen head.

What you can do to prevent flat head syndrome

From the beginning, we alternated positions in the crib for our first son on the advice of our pediatrician, and he ended up with a perfectly shaped little head.

But then I started to see our second baby developing a flat spot. He sleeps propped up in the Fisher Price Sleep and Play bassinet, to help with his reflux. I noticed that the back of his head was becoming quite flat, and his skull was starting to bulge out at his temples! From the side, he looked a bit cone headed. I couldn’t believe it. And because it was gradual, it took some time for me to notice.

The changing shape of his skull was actually altering how his face looked. And not in a good way.

Not wanting my child to end up looking like Charlie Brown, I searched for remedies. He was only three months old, so his skull was still very pliable.

  • Repositioning him seemed like a good option. But it didn’t work, due to where he sleeps and an already strong preference for his head position.
  • Many experts recommend tummy time for all awake play time. But for us, tummy time was only a few minutes a day, since he still sleeps about 16 hours every day.
  • They also recommend not letting your baby sleep very much in the car seat, bouncy seat or swing, though he didn’t do that anyway. We use a sling more than the stroller and rarely spend time in the car.

I found a product that is helping. The Boppy Noggin Nest has a donut hole in the back, so it holds the baby’s head in position and relieves the pressure.

Though this pillow is not a medical device intended for treating flat head syndrome, it’s working. After a few weeks of use, my son’s head is rounding out nicely. It’s still a bit flat in back, but the sides are no longer bulging out, and he looks more like he had before I noticed the problem. BIG sigh of relief here.

Have you had any issues with flat head syndrome with your baby? If so, what did you do? Please share with our readers here!

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Why we love organic cotton for our baby hats

While some might consider it an unnecessary splurge, other parents feel good knowing their babies aren’t wearing pesticides and harsh dyes. Many also say that natural fabrics like high-quality organic cotton and bamboo also feel better to the touch, naturally softer and gentler on tender baby skin.

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Battling baby supermarket boredom

Inevitably there’s a crying baby in the checkout line at the supermarket. I’ve seen moms leave minutes after entering the store because their child is having a meltdown.

I can’t say I’ve never struggled at the supermarket. But since my son and I had to find a way to get along on our shopping trips, I’ll share what’s worked for us.

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Give the perfect gift!

There is nothing to lose when you consider giving off our hats as gifts for any occasion. Your recipients will surely love the chic and charming styles we offer. Plus, you get them at reasonable prices. Some buyers out there may just buy ready made hats from the nearest store. Why spend much time when you can simply log on to your computers and order hats from Chizipoms? We also take charge of the delivery of your orders.

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Speaking of Flower Hats

The crochet flower hat is great for any time of the year. Whether it is hot or cold, you will simply love them. A variation is one with the silk flower. This is especially made for your babies to wear during summer and spring. It is also a typical hat for any special occasion. We also have the shell style crochet hat with big silk peony flowers on it. It is available in different colors that will mix and match any clothing that your child puts on.

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