LITTLE ROCK — A joint venture of Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences educates new and expectant parents about one of the most severe forms of child abuse — Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The two hospitals are distributing educational videos and other materials about the dangers of shaking a baby, which can cause serious or fatal brain injury. Materials for the pilot program are from Period of PURPLE Crying, a program being used in several states.
The Period of PURPLE Crying program is designed to equip parents with the knowledge that all newborns go through a period of crying that begins at 2 weeks and continues until the child is about 3 to 4 months of age. Some babies cry more, some babies cry less, but all babies go through it, according to a news release from the hospitals.
The program was launched in April as part of Child Prevention Month.
The acronym PURPLE stands for:
—Peak of crying – Crying peaks during the second month, then decreases during months 3-5.
—Unexpected – Crying may come and go unexpectedly for no apparent reason.
—Resists soothing – Crying may continue despite all soothing efforts by caregivers.
—Pain-like face – Infants may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.
—Long-lasting – Crying can go on for 30-40 minutes at a time, and often for much longer.
—Evening – Crying may occur more in the late afternoon and evening.
Parents delivering babies at UAMS and those with babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at both UAMS and ACH will receive the Period of PURPLE Crying education prior to discharge and will be sent home with a copy of a DVD and booklet so they can share the information with caregivers. The goal of the project is eventually to increase awareness of how to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome in Arkansas.
"Everyone’s participation is critical," said Shelby Rowe, intentional injury project analyst with the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. "Focusing on ways to build and promote the protective factors, in every interaction with children and families, is the best thing our community can do to prevent child maltreatment and promote optimal child development. Making sure parents have important information about preventing child abuse from the start, like the PURPLE program, is an important building block to keep babies safe."