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More than 1,400 babies are shaken and abused as a result of a parent or caregiver becoming frustrated with an infant’s crying each year in the U.S. Research shows that frustration with a crying baby is the number one trigger for shaking and abusing infants. Shaking infants sometimes results in abusive head trauma admissions, which increased 50 percent in Oregon from 20 abusive head traumas in 2011, to 30 abusive head traumas in 2012. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Shaken Baby Syndrome is a leading cause of child abuse deaths in the United States.
Dedicated knitters from throughout the state of Oregon, Southwest Washington and across the United States joined in the CLICK for Babies grassroots effort knitting over 8,500 caps, nearly double the amount donated in 2012. Caps will be delivered to newborns in 32 Family Birth Centers in Oregon and Southwest Washington from November to December 2013.
Families will receive a cap and DVD about the very normal developmental phase of infant crying and how to care for a crying baby. This evidence-based program is called the Period of PURPLE Crying. Populations in areas where families receive education about infant crying have seen a 50 percent decrease in Shaken Baby Syndrome and abusive head trauma admissions.
Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel is leading the Oregon and Southwest Washington CLICK for Babies grassroots effort, named from the distinct sound of knitting needles “clicking” together. Nationally, the effort is organized by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS).
“I cannot remember a time when a project touched me so deeply. The community’s commitment to join new parents in learning about infant crying and the dangers of shaken baby syndrome is extraordinary. The purple caps and Period of PURPLE Crying program teaches parents to develop a plan and share their plan for when their baby cries,” emphasizes Sandy Nipper, R.N.
The word PURPLE is an acronym which describes to new parents in an easy to remember way all of the characteristics of normal infant crying and reminds parents that this period of increased crying doesn’t go on forever. 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 5 hours per day or more.
§ Evening – The baby might cry more in the late afternoon or evening.
More information about the CLICK for Babies campaign, including participating organizations, patterns for caps and guidelines for caps is available at CLICKforbabies.org.