Experiences from conception to age six have the most important influence of any time in the life

Purple Crying Early Intervention Program

Summary of the Project

The period of purple crying program is a new prevention program produced by the National Centre on shaken Baby Syndrome. It approaches prevention by helping parents and caregivers understand the features of crying in normal infants that are frustrating and can lead to shaking or abuse.

The program is designed to create a change in the way parents and others think about infant crying, especially inconsolable crying. If caregivers can understand and know how to deal appropriately with this normal early crying period, they are less likely to feel stressed to the point where they shake their baby our of frustration and anger.

Many programs tell parents that crying is normal, but this program is different. It provides the opportunity for parents to learn about the crying characteristics that they are experiencing during this unique period in the first few months of life.

Through the use of an 11-page booklet and a 10-minute DVD, the PERIOD OF PURPLE CRYING PROGRAM describes specific features of early crying and ways to comfort a baby. The letters in the PURPLE acronym describe the normal characteristics of infant crying and the word “Period” is used to let parents know that this experience of increased crying is temporary, and eventually does come to an end.

Caregivers are encouraged to take three important action steps. First, increase their comfort, carry, walk, and talk responses. Secondly, if the crying is too frustrating, to put the baby in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes to calm down. Finally, to never shake or hurt their baby.

The PERIOD OF PURPLE CRYING is well researched. In 2004, the National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome, the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center of the University of Washington, and the University of British Columbia received a grant to produce educational materials, and to empirically test the new program.

The program was tested through four different delivery systems: maternity services, pediatric offices, prenatal classes, and home visitor programs. More than 4,800 parents participated in the research.

There was a three-year process of evaluating the effectiveness of the program in changing knowledge and behaviors of parents through randomized controlled trails both in the United States and Canada.

As a group of Community Partners in Early Childhood, we are committed to giving all children a good start in life. We view the PERIOD OF PURPLE CRYING materials as an excellent educational tool for the prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome in our community. With you financial support, we hope to launch the program by the summer of 2008.

Goals and Objectives

To provide information to expectant parents, new parents, and at-risk parents to reduce the incidence of Shaken Baby Syndrome in the River Valley Health Region (southwestern New Brunswick) services by Early Childhood Services, Public Health, Early Intervention, and Child Protection.

Timeline and Evaluation

After the program had been implemented for two months, caregivers who present at pediatric immunization clinics in the health region will be asked to participate in an evaluation of the Purple Crying Program. Public Health nurses will describe the study to caregivers and invite them to participate.

Participating caregivers will be asked to complete the Purple Crying Evaluation Tool. The tool is specifically designed to assess satisfaction and utility of the components of the Purple Crying Program. The tool has accepted reliability and validity characteristics.

In addition, qualitative individual interviews will be conducted with caregivers to ascertain experiences with infant crying and satisfaction and utility of the purple Crying Program. The qualitative and quantitative data will be used to triangulate findings.

The qualitative interview guide will be developed in consultation with the community partners. Demographic data and descriptive data on infant crying will also be collected. Specially, parents will be asked if their infant cried longer than 3 hours per day for more than 3 days per week, the standard definition of excessive infant crying.

As this study is not meant to uncover differences between groups or magnitude of change, power analysis in inappropriate; however, it is projected that an appropriately large sample size of 200 participants will be enough to support quantitative descriptive findings and adequately represent families in the region.

Thus, quantitative data collection will continue until approximately 200 participants are recruited. Qualitative data collection will continue until data saturation is achieved. Past research suggests that redundancy of uncovered themes in qualitative data will be noted after approximately 30 interviews. Analysis will consist of thematic content analysis for qualitative data and descriptive statistics (mean, medians, modes) for quantitative data collection will take 1 hour 30 minutes to complete.