The Woodward News

January 14, 2014

Program focuses on Shaken Baby Syndrome

Rachael Van Horn
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — A new initiative called "PURPLE" aimed at reducing the number of babies affected by the tragedy of Shaken Baby Syndrome has begun at Woodward Regional Hospital, said hospital spokeswoman Lori Messenger.

With help from the St. Peter's Catholic Church Parish  Nursing Ministry Team, and many other community volunteers, the hope is the PURPLE Program will create a framework that offers parents support when they need it, a reminder they are not alone and knowledge that this is a perfectly normal part of infant development.

The program starts with the word "PURPLE".

The acronym stands for:

Peak of Crying - Your baby may cry more each week, the most at two months then less in months three to five.

Unexpected - Crying can come and go and you don't know why.

Resists Soothing -Y our baby may not stop crying no matter what you do.

Pain-like Face - A crying baby may look like they are in pain, even when they are not.

Long Lasting - Crying can last as much as five hours a day or more.

Evening - Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

New parents are now sent home from Woodward Regional with informative material that can help them understand, crying - even long hours of it - is normal for an infant's development.

On their baby's heads as a visual reminder; a tiny, purple knitted cap, handmade by local volunteers, said Dr. Jan Chleborad.

Chleborad is the Woodward Chief of Staff and member of the St. Peter's Parish Nursing Team.

"What I am hoping for is that this gives parents the feeling they can be comfortable with their own baby," she said. "That they are being good parents even though their baby is going through the Period of Purple Crying."

The Period of Purple Crying now replaces the old label that used to call a child who cried a lot as an infant, "colicy", Chleborad said.

The word "colic" seems to indicate there is something wrong with the child when in most of the cases, the baby is just going through a normal period of crying, she said.

As a result of being overly exhausted and frustrated because they can't seem to soothe their baby, some parents make a split-second decision that has life-long impact and shake the baby or throw the baby on the bed.

Chleborad believes the actual number of babies who are injured by Shaken Baby Syndrome is much higher than is ever reported.

"Unfortunately, the only ones we know for sure about are the ones who die as a result of it or end up in the hospital," she said.

According to Chleborad, many other less remarkable problems, such as learning disabilities and developmental or behavior problems can also be a result of cases that just went undiscovered.

"So this program, I hope helps these parents relax a little and feel reassured that they are doing a good job," she said. I think that is what usually adds to their frustration, the fear they aren't doing a good job because their baby is crying."

St. Peter‘s Catholic Church Parish Nursing Ministry Team is asking anyone who would like to become involved to knit the baby's purple caps, which they will go home from the hospital with, said St. Peter's Director of Religious Education, Peggy Kitchens.

"April, is National Shaken Baby Awareness month," Kitchens said. "So we are hoping that we can get people to begin making purple hats, so that when April comes, we have an abundance of hats to give to the hospital so they can give with the material they hand out on PURPLE."

For more information about how you can become part of the hat making or support the effort, contact Debra Boeckman at St. Peter's Catholic Church at 256-5305. And for more information about PURPLE, long onto