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Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Date:3/5/2009

Parents who are prepared for infant's crying bouts can maintain better control, studies say,,

THURSDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- An educational program for parents can help prevent shaken baby syndrome that's triggered by infant crying, according to American and Canadian studies.

"Typically, crying begins within two weeks of birth, so it's imperative that new parents receive information and learn coping strategies," Dr. Fred Rivara, an investigator at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, vice chairman of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle and co-author of the U.S. study said in a university news release.

He and his colleagues tested an educational program called "The Period of PURPLE Crying," which includes a 12-minute DVD and information booklet. The program -- designed to teach parents that infant crying is normal and can be frustrating for caregivers -- identifies several behaviors as normal:

  • Crying increases, peaking in the second month, and then declines
  • Unexpected periods of prolonged crying occur
  • The infant is resistant to soothing
  • A pained look appears on the baby's face
  • Long crying bouts take place
  • Crying bouts cluster in the evening and late afternoon

The U.S. study included 2,738 mothers of new infants. Half of them received the PURPLE material, and the others were given information about infant safety. The mothers who received the PURPLE materials scored six points higher in knowledge about crying and one point higher in knowledge about shaking, were 6 percent more likely to share information with caregivers about how to cope with the frustration of infant crying and were 7 percent more likely to warn caregivers about the dangers of shaking, the study found.

In the Canadian study, mothers who received PURPLE materials scored six points higher in knowledge about crying; were 13 perce
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