New research shows program effective in educating parents about prevention of shaken baby syndrome

Mar 02, 2009

New studies in the United States and Canada show that educational materials aimed at preventing shaken baby syndrome increased knowledge of new mothers about infant crying, the most common trigger for people abusing babies by shaking them. The study of mothers in Seattle is featured in the March issue of Pediatrics, and a partner study in Vancouver, British Columbia appears this month in The Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Each year in the United States, an estimated 1,300 infants are hospitalized or die from shaken baby syndrome. One in four babies will die as a result of their injuries, and among those who survive, approximately 80 percent will suffer brain injury, blindness and deafness, fractures, paralysis, cognitive and learning disabilities, or cerebral palsy.

"Typically, crying begins within two weeks of birth so it's imperative that new parents receive information and learn coping strategies early," says Fred Rivara, MD, MPH and co-author of the Seattle study. Dr. Rivara is an investigator at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, and vice-chair of pediatrics at the University of Washington.

Both studies were randomized controlled trials testing of "The Period of PURPLE Crying," an educational program that includes a 12-minute DVD and information booklet. In Seattle, Dr. Rivara was joined by Dr. Ronald Barr, lead author of both studies and director of community child health at the Child & Family Research Institute and professor of pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia.

The Seattle study involved 2,738 mothers of new infants. Half the women enrolled in the study received the PURPLE materials while half received information on infant safety. Mothers who received the PURPLE materials scored six percent higher in knowledge about crying and one percent higher in knowledge about shaking. They were six percent more likely to share information with caregivers about strategies for coping with the frustration of infant crying, and seven percent more likely to warn caregivers of the dangers of shaking.

Like their American counterparts, Vancouver mothers who received the PURPLE materials scored 6 percent higher in knowledge about crying, were 13 percent more likely to share information with caregivers about coping with inconsolable crying, 12.9 percent more likely to share information about the dangers of shaking, and 7.6 percent more likely to share information about crying.

"Changing knowledge is a critical first step in changing behavior, and this is important public health work because the results show it's possible to change people's ideas about crying." said Dr. Barr. PURPLE materials are designed to teach parents that crying is normal and frustrating for caregivers, and they list the following features as typical:

• Peak pattern, when crying increases, peaks in second month, then declines
• Unexpected timing of prolonged crying
• Resistance to soothing
• Pain-like look on the face
• Long crying bouts
• Evening and late afternoon clustering

Source: University of Washington - Harborview Medical Center

Explore further: Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MasterCard, Zwipe announce fingerprint-sensor card

21 hours ago

On Friday, MasterCard and Oslo, Norway-based Zwipe announced the launch of a contactless payment card featuring an integrated fingerprint sensor. Say goodbye to PINs. This card, they said, is the world's ...

Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms

22 hours ago

Organisms can be negatively affected by plastic nanoparticles, not just in the seas and oceans but in freshwater bodies too. These particles slow the growth of algae, cause deformities in water fleas and impede communication ...

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

Oct 23, 2014

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

Oct 23, 2014

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Ashy
not rated yet Mar 03, 2009
Let parents know ALL side efects of vaccination, and you will reduce number of "shaken baby syndrome" and many other strange child diseases.

My child has haemorrhagic rash after DPT and I saw children with other serious diseases atfet vaccination, even with postvaccination paralysis, TB and blood poisoning.