April is Shaken Baby Prevention Month
No one ever thinks they would shake their baby…but it happens. It happens when parents or caregivers feel frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, and baby has been crying A LOT.
Shaken Baby Syndrome happens when a baby is violently shaken, even for a few seconds, or their head is forcefully hit against something hard. This causes their soft brains and delicate blood vessels to become damaged, leading to permanent brain injury or even death.
Shaken Baby Syndrome isn't caused by bouncing baby on your knee, tossing baby in the air, jogging or bicycling with your baby, baby falling off a couch or other furniture, or suddenly stopping in a car or driving over bumps.
It's important for parents and other caregivers to understand normal baby crying behavior. The RAMC Birth Center is proud to provide information on this through the Period of Purple Crying program. For many years the Birth Center has participated with this program, offering new parents the opportunity to learn about normal crying behavior through discussion and a DVD provided by the program.
The Period of Purple Crying program aims to support parents and caregivers through education and reduce the occurrence of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
The word "Period" means that the crying has a beginning and an end. The word "Purple" stands for the characteristics associated with the crying:
P= peak of the crying, which may start to increase around two weeks old and last until three to four months old.
U= unexpected, the crying may come and go and you don't know why.
R= resists soothing, your baby may not stop crying no matter what you try.
P= pain-like face, your baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.
L= long lasting, the crying can last several hours a day.
E= evening, your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.
If you would like more information about Shaken Baby Syndrome or the Period of Purple Crying, please visit: www.dontshake.org