This year’s CLICK for Babies Campaign, a program aimed at raising awareness about shaken baby syndrome through the distribution of tiny, knitted purple hats, has set a record of 13,000 caps – the highest number ever donated by volunteer knitters around British Columbia.
“Each year, volunteers throughout the province pick up knitting needles and purple yarn to make a difference in the lives of new parents and their babies through the CLICK for Babies campaign,” said Minister of Children and Family Development (MCFD) Stephanie Cadieux. “The goal is to increase awareness about the period of PURPLE crying, so we can continue to help new parents and caregivers cope during what can be a challenging time for them and their infants.”
Cadieux celebrated volunteer knitters from the North Shore MCFD office – one of 18 MCFD offices that collectively knitted more than 1,700 purple caps for this year’s campaign. All caps will be given to infants throughout the province between November 2016 and January 2017.
Shaken baby syndrome is a traumatic brain injury that occurs when a baby is shaken and can result in a permanent brain injury or death. The Period of PURPLE Crying Program, which is delivered in B.C. maternity hospitals and health units, helps new parents and caregivers to understand the normal crying patterns in young infants and how to deal with them in a safe way.
“CLICK for Babies is a great reminder to all involved – parents, nurses, maternity units, public health, and physicians – about how important this critical information is about crying and ways to avoid injury to one’s infant,” said Dr. Ronald Barr, emeritus professor of pediatrics at the University of British Columbia.
The first of its kind in Canada, the Period of PURPLE Crying Program has received nearly $2.2 million in government funding since 2008. Statistics show that the program is making a difference. The annual number of shaken-baby cases in B.C. has decreased by approximately 32% for children aged 0-2 since the program’s launch.
“It’s great to see so many volunteers right here on the North Shore who are willing to give their time so freely to this campaign,” said North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Naomi Yamamoto, who attended the celebration with North Vancouver-Seymour MLA Jane Thornthwaite and West Vancouver-Capilano MLA Ralph Sultan. “These are just a few of the incredible volunteers – from MCFD and beyond – who are helping to save lives through education and prevention.”
The program gives parents concrete steps to help them cope with infant crying, reduce crying and prevent shaking and abuse. Materials include a 10-minute video on infant crying and the dangers of shaking, a 17-minute video on ways to soothe a crying baby and an 11-page booklet entitled, Did You Know Your Infant Would Cry Like This? The information helps parents and caregivers understand that the characteristics of infant crying are normal, temporary and not their fault.
“Many people may not be aware that British Columbia and the Ministry of Children and Family Development are at the forefront of prevention efforts internationally with their provincewide implementation of the Period of PURPLE Crying in every maternity unit in the province,” Dr. Barr said. “With over 13,000 caps this year, it looks like British Columbia is in the lead with the CLICK campaign as well. What a great provincial effort on all fronts!”
To date, approximately 360,000 B.C. families have completed the program, which is provided to parents of newborns before they are discharged from the hospital. There are about 43,000 births in B.C. each year. The program also receives support from the Ministry of Health, BC Children’s Hospital and the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit.
- Approximately 20-25% of shaken baby syndrome victims die, and of those who survive a shaking incident, as many as 80% have significant, life-long brain injuries. (Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003).
- The Period of PURPLE Crying Program is led by Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC, a program of the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit at BC Children’s Hospital.
- In January 2009, B.C. became the first Canadian province to implement the Period of PURPLE Crying Program provincewide and to provide prevention materials with the birth of each baby.
- The acronym PURPLE stands for:
- Peak of crying – peaks during the second month, decreasing after that.
- Unexpected – comes and goes unexpectedly, for no apparent reason.
- Resists soothing – continues despite all soothing efforts by parents/caregivers.
- Pain-like face – looks like the infant is in pain, even when they aren’t.
- Long-lasting – crying can go on for 30-40 minutes or longer.
- Evening cry – crying happens more in the late afternoon and evening.
- Program participants learn three action steps on how to respond to infant crying, to reduce crying as much as possible and to prevent shaking and abuse. These action steps are:
- Carry, comfort, walk and talk to the infant.
- If the crying is too frustrating, it’s okay to walk away.
- Never shake or hurt an infant.
- The program materials are offered in 12 languages: English, Cantonese, French (Quebecois), Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Punjabi, Spanish (Mexican), Vietnamese, Somali, Arabic and Hebrew.
- The program is also part of the curriculum at 13 post-secondary institutions for nurses, midwives, early childhood educators and community health support personnel.
To learn more about the CLICK for Babies public education campaign, visit: www.clickforbabies.org
To learn more about the Period of PURPLE Crying and how to help raise awareness, go to: www.purplecrying.info
More information can be found at The National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome by visiting: www.dontshake.org