The purple knitted hats represent the “Period of PURPLE Crying,” a nationwide educational program focused on informing parents and caregivers about crying in healthy infants. These bouts of crying – sometimes for hours – are normal but can be frustrating for parents. This frustration can lead to the baby being shaken or abused.
“Shaken Baby Syndrome is preventable,” says Tabatha Biddle, Maternal Child Health Education Specialist at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “This is a great opportunity for St. Elizabeth nurses to educate our families about the risks of Shaken Baby Syndrome. The purple hats are something sweet for the baby – and a chance for parents to really connect with the meaning behind the hat.”
The Period of PURPLE Crying
The “Period of PURPLE Crying” refers to:
- P – peak of crying: newborn babies reach their crying peak around two months of age. Between three and five months the crying typically begins to taper off.
- U – unexpected: babies can be happy all day long and then unexpectedly cry for the entire evening. Parents can get frustrated and it’s easier to lose your cool when the crying is unexpected.
- R – resist soothing: no matter what the parent tries – even soothing techniques that have previously worked – the baby is still crying.
- P – pain-like face: the baby appears to be in pain even when they are not.
- L – long-lasting – the baby can cry for a significant portion of the day – five hours or more.
- E – evening – babies are more inclined to cry in late afternoon and evenings.
There are videos about each stage of the Purple Period of Crying available for parents on dontshake.org and as always, the knowledgeable staff at St. Elizabeth Healthcare is always available for any questions or concerns.
What steps can you take to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome?
First and foremost – do not shake your baby, no matter how long they have been crying or how frustrated you are. If you feel like you are close to this point, get immediate help from a trusted adult.
It’s often difficult to think clearly in situations with an inconsolable infant. If you are facing this challenge, here are a few suggestions of what to try with your baby:
- Warm bath
- Listen to and watch running water
- Turn on music; dance and sing
- Put the baby in a safe place, walk away and check back on the baby often
- Call for a loved one to come over so you can take a break
- Take the baby on a car ride
St. Elizabeth Healthcare – a partner in Shaken Baby Awareness
St. Elizabeth Healthcare is proud to bring awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome to the Northern Kentucky community. If you are interested in donating purple yarn for our knitting team, please call Shayna Hamilton at (859) 301-5463 or visit the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome for more information.