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April 12, 2011

DPHHS health conference to focus on preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome

A national expert will be in Great Falls this week to educate parents and caregivers on ways to reduce Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Julie Price of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome will present: The Period of PURPLE Crying at the annual Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) Family and Community Health Conference April 13-14 in Great Falls at the Best Western Heritage Inn.

Price will present Wednesday, April 13 at 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. and then again from 3:30 to 5 p.m.

Price, of Utah, has 19 years in education, training and program management. In addition to her work with the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, Price oversees Utah's Period of PURPLE Crying® hospital-based program. She assists hospital administrators, education personnel and maternity services with nurse training and coordination of the Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention and parent education program.

The Period of PURPLE Crying® is the phrase used to describe the point in a baby’s life when he or she cries more than at any other time. This period of increased crying is often described as “colic”, but there have been many misunderstandings about what “colic” really is.

“The concept of the Period of Purple Crying is a new way to help parents understand this time in their baby’s life, which is a normal part of every infant’s development,” DPHHS Director Anna Whiting Sorrell said. “DPHHS is committed to bringing this valuable information to Montanans.”

The acronym PURPLE is used to describe specific characteristics of an infant’s crying during this phase. The word PERIOD is important because it lets parents know that it is temporary and will come to an end. 

P: Peak of crying. A baby may cry more each week. The most at 2 months, then less at 3-5 months.
U: Unexpected. Crying can come and go and there is no clear reason why.
R: Resists soothing. A baby may not stop crying no matter what a parent does.
P: Pain-like face. A crying that may look like the baby is in pain, even when he/ she is not.
L: Long lasting. Crying which lasts as long as five hours or more a day.
E: Evening. A baby may cry more in the late afternoon or evening.

According to Ann Buss of the DPHHS Family and Community Health Bureau, it’s important to recognize the signs. “It may be confusing and concerning to be told a baby ‘has colic’ because it may sound like the baby has an illness or a condition that is abnormal,” Buss said. “Parents and caregivers need to know that what they are experiencing is indeed normal and, although frustrating, is simply a phase in their child’s development that will pass.”

This presentation is part of an overall DPHHS effort being led by the Montana’s Children Trust Fund of DPHHS to educate families of babies born in Montana about Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abusive Head Trauma. Recently, the MTCTF distributed 45,000 ‘Crying Cards’ to parents of newborns though hospitals, family and pediatric practices, child care facilities, and groups that offer babysitting classes. 

For information on the Period of Purple Crying visit the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome at http://www.dontshake.org/sbs.php?topNavID=4&subNavID=32
Page last updated: 07/30/2013