Mercy Hospital Ardmore's BirthPlace Works to Create Understanding

November 14, 2012

New mom Rebeccah Buck and baby, Sutton Avery, get a purple cap

crocheted by Katherine Bland, Mercy Cancer Center medical assistant

ARDMORE, Okla. - Frustration with a crying baby is the number one trigger for the shaking and abuse of infants. In an effort to help spread awareness about normal crying and the dangers of shaking an infant, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome is launching a national public education campaign to make tens of thousands of purple colored baby caps.

The grassroots campaign called, CLICK for Babies: Period of PURPLE Crying Caps, invites knitters and crocheters across North America to make purple colored baby caps. “This program is a great opportunity for our nurses and team to get awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome in front of the new parents and families,” said Debbie Moyers, registered nurse certified in obstetrics, Mercy Hospital Ardmore Women's Center and BirthPlace manager. “When we give one of the hand-knit purple caps to the new moms we tell them how important it is to know that crying is normal in babies.”

CLICK for Babies is a collaborative effort between the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and invited states who have implemented the Period of PURPLE Crying. Oregon, Washington, Utah, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, North Carolina, West Virginia, New Hampshire and Maine have joined the 2012 campaign in addition to the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia.

  1. Shaken Baby Syndrome is a leading cause of child abuse deaths in the United States.
  2. Babies (Newborns to 4 months) are at a greatest risk of injury from shaking.
  3. Inconsolable crying is a primary trigger for shaking a baby.
  4. Each and every day infants are shaken and abused because the person caring for them became frustrated with their crying.
  5. Shaken baby syndrome can be prevented:   Never shake an infant or child;  Avoid holding your infant during arguments;  Avoid disciplining your child when you are angry; If you find yourself becoming increasingly short-tempered around your infant or child take a break and ask a friend or family member for help.

Mercy Hospital Ardmore's BirthPlace co-workers understand the importance of this program and are working hard to educate families with newborns. "We take the opportunity to educate the family that it is ok to lay their crying baby down in a safe place and walk away for a short time. We also have a short DVD that we provide to them that contains great information for any and all caregivers of the baby,” said Tracy Hepinstall, labor and delivery registered nurse, certified in obstetrics. Each newborn, during the month of November, recieves a hand-knit purple cap as well to remind parents and caregivers about Shaken Baby Syndrome.

“When we refer to the Period of PURPLE , the acronym PURPLE is used to describe specific characteristics of an infant's crying. We want to let parents and caregivers know that what they are experiencing is normal and, although it is often frustrating, it is a phase that will pass.”  Said Holly Tynes, registered nurse, certified in obstetrics and electronic fetal monitoring, Women’s Center and BirthPlace assistant manager.

The bottom line is, don't shake a baby.

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