Governor Bev Perdue has proclaimed January the Period of PURPLE Crying: Keeping Babies Safe in North Carolina month.
The initiative is a five-year test of the program that teaches parents and other caregivers that early increased infant crying is normal but that it can become frustrating and lead to shaking. The program also suggests ways to help parents comfort a crying baby and to cope with frustration. Frustration with early infant crying is the primary trigger for shaking.
“North Carolina has the top pediatricians, preeminent pediatric researchers, and some of the best birthing hospitals in the country. The Period of PURPLE Crying program is here because of them,” said Dr. Ronald G. Barr, the leading international authority on infant crying and a developmental pediatrician at the University of British Columbia and British Columbia Hospital.
To date, more than 5,000 workers at 86 hospitals and birthing centers in North Carolina have been trained to teach parents about The Period of PURPLE Crying. By the end of the study, more than a half-million parents of newborns will have received training about the PURPLE program.
Shaking is more common than people may think. A recent North Carolina baseline survey shows that almost one in 100 parents of children under 2-years of age reported that they or their partner had shaken a child. At least 50 cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome are diagnosed each year in North Carolina but experts believe that a significantly higher number of additional Shaken Baby Syndrome cases go undiagnosed every year.
Chair of the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force, Tom Vitaglione noted, “Shaken Baby Syndrome is more than a crime, it’s a pressing, yet preventable public health issue. By changing expectations and social norms about infant crying, the five-year program seeks to significantly reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries that occur when frustrated caregivers shake crying babies.”
To help achieve cultural change across North Carolina, PURPLE project leaders announced several key partnerships. Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina and The North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. have formed an alliance with the Period of PURPLE Crying: Keeping Babies Safe in North Carolina. All three organizations have statewide networks and share common goals. Working together, the three can be even more effective in keeping babies safe in North Carolina – and ultimately in saving lives.
The Carolina Hurricanes have also joined in support of the Period of PURPLE Crying: Keeping Babies Safe in North Carolina, and will honor the PURPLE project at a Hurricanes hockey game on January 30th.
The initiative will also use extensive public education, including the launch of a media campaign and outreach efforts of a statewide leadership team of local non-profit, service providers and government workers who will serve as “ambassadors” to advance the project’s mission and scope.