Thousands of tiny purple caps will soon be delivered to birthing hospitals across the province.
It’s part of an annual campaign to help raise awareness for the Period of Purple Crying program, an educational program for new parents which teaches them how to deal with infant crying, especially inconsolable crying.
Volunteers knit purple caps and create hand-written cards for newborns. The caps will be given to babies in hospitals and public health units in November and December. To date, almost 18,000 caps have been created and distributed to families.
“A baby’s life is extremely precious and this program is an important resource that supports parents through a tough time when their babies can cry more than any other time in their lives,” said Stephanie Cadieux, children and family development minister.
“Knowing what to expect and how to respond is proven to help parents cope with this challenging phase.”
Since the Period of Purple Crying program was fully implemented in B.C. in 2009, hospitals have reported a 56 per cent reduction in the number of cases of abusive head trauma due to shaken baby syndrome in infants six months and younger.
“While making the purple caps and distributing them at birthing hospitals and health units, we hope to generate conversations about the Period of Purple Crying, a frequently misunderstood but typical stage in early infancy,” said Marilyn Barr, Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome B.C. director.
“Through education and awareness, our goal is to prevent shaken baby syndrome and other forms of abuse, which can arise from the frustration of this early infant crying.”
All parents of newborns (about 45,000 births per year) receive a copy of a DVD, which includes a 17-minute film on ways to soothe your baby and an 11-page booklet called ‘Did you know your infant would cry like this?’ before being discharged from the hospital.
Through the DVD and booklet, new moms and dads are educated that it is never okay to shake a baby.
The program helps parents and caregivers understand that babies can cry a lot, up to five hours a day in the first two to five months of life.
The training tools explain that the characteristics of infant crying are normal, temporary and not the fault of the caregiver.
The B.C. government has invested $1.8 million since 2008 to implement the program in all B.C. health units and birthing hospitals.
The program is led by the Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome B.C. program at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
“As a father, I know that being a new parent can be challenging, and we want to make sure families have the resources they need,” said Terry Lake, minister of health.
“We’re proud to support the Period of Purple Crying program, which helps educate new parents and caregivers about how to respond to infant crying.”