RMC Part of National Effort to Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome

Posted 11/25/2013 in OB

Purple hats remind parents and caregivers that it is never okay to shake a baby

Each year, more than 1,400 babies are shaken and abused as a result of a parent or caregiver becoming frustrated with an infant’s crying. Research shows that frustration with a crying infant is the number one trigger for the shaking and abuse of infants. The majority of shaken infants suffer a variety of significant and life-long injuries that range from seizures and cerebral palsy to death.

Through a unique collaboration of knitters and crocheters, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) is working to build awareness of the dangers of shaking an infant by collecting and distributing thousands of purple-colored baby caps to parents of new babies in states across the nation.

The campaign, titled CLICK for Babies: Period of PURPLE Crying Caps, aims to build awareness of a normal, but often frustrating phase in an infant’s development when they cry more than any other point in their life.  This developmental phase, called the Period of PURPLE Crying, provides a new way for parents and caregivers to understand the properties of normal infant crying, ways to cope with the crying and the dangers of shaking an infant.

“We are excited to receive the caps and thankful to those who click these caps in various sizes, shapes, and shades of purple to meet the needs for newborns here at RMC,” says LeAnn Fenton, RN, BSN, OB Nursing Manager at RMC.  The CLICK for Babies campaign really presents a tremendous opportunity to spread awareness about the Period of PURPLE Crying and prepare parents for the challenges of raising a new infant.”

Mary Hansel, LPN, OB and Family Health Department Nursery, places a purple cap on baby Mariah before leaving RMC for home with her parents. The purple hat reminds parents of the Period of PURPLE Crying campaign.

The Period of PURPLE Crying is a way for parents to understand their baby's crying. The word PURPLE is an acronym, which reminds parents in an easy to remember way, all of the characteristics of normal infant crying. The letters in PURPLE stand for:

• Peak of crying - The baby may cry more each week, peaking at two months, and then less at three to five months.
• Unexpected - The crying can come and go, with no explanation.
• Resists soothing - The baby might not stop crying no matter what you try.
• Pain-like face - It may look like the baby is in pain, even when they are not.
• Long lasting - The baby might cry five hours per day or more.
• Evening - The baby might cry more in the late afternoon or evening.

“We want everyone to be aware and understand the Period of PURPLE Crying program,” said Fenton. “This will help new parents receive support when they are dealing with a crying baby. Parents need to know it is okay to ask for help. Most importantly, we want parents to know that it is okay to set their baby down in a safe crib and walk away. The frustration is normal; but what the parent/caregiver does with the frustration is what matters. Babies don’t die from crying in their cribs, but they can die from being shaken.”

For more information about the CLICK for Babies campaign visit CLICKforbabies.org. More information about the Period of PURPLE Crying program is available at PURPLEcrying.info.