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Published on October 31, 2011

Cedar Rapids hospitals work to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome

PURPLE newborn caps will replace the traditional pink and blue on the tiny heads of infants at St. Luke’s Hospital, Mercy Medical Center and hospitals all over the state starting tomorrow.

The hand-knitted caps, donated by a wide array of individual community knitters, are a way to remind parents about the normalcy of early infant crying and how to appropriately and safely cope with it. The Click for Babies Campaign is aims to educate new parents about a program called The Period of Purple Crying, a normal period in an infant’s development when they cry more than any other time. The campaign is sponsored by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, Iowa Department of Public Health and Prevent Child Abuse Iowa.

During the month of November, babies born at Iowa hospitals, which include St. Luke’s Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, will receive a purple knitted hat along with Period of Purple Crying program materials. The goal of the November cap distribution is to help create awareness and reinforce the information contained in the Purple program to families of newborns.

The Period of Purple Crying is an evidence-based educational program distributed to parents in participating hospitals, which provides life-saving information about normal infant crying and the dangers of reacting to that crying in frustration by shaking or abusing an infant.

The Period of PURPLE Crying begins at about two weeks of age and continues until about three to four months. There are other common characteristics of this phase, or period, which are better described by the acronym PURPLE. All babies go through this period – however some may cry more than others.

"Many parents and caregivers have no idea what to expect from their new infant," said Denise Easley, St. Luke’s NICU nurse. "This program provides information to parents about reasonable expectations regarding the amount of crying their baby may have in the first weeks and months following birth and provides important actions steps for dealing with the crying when it becomes frustrating."

"It's important for parents and caregivers to realize that a certain amount of crying during the first few weeks and months of life is normal," said Linda Klein, Director of Mercy’s Birthplace. "Providing them with this information is critical. This campaign helps us go one step farther, giving parents ideas about how to cope with a crying baby and how to recognize normal developmental stages of infancy."

Period of Purple CryingIn Eastern Iowa the participating hospitals in the Click for Babies campaign: In Cedar Rapids: St. Luke’s Hospital, Mercy Medical Center. In Iowa City: University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and Mercy Hospital. In Waterloo: Allen Hospital and Covenant Medical Center. In Decorah: Winneshiek Medical Center. In Waverly: Waverly Health Center.

To learn more about the Period of Purple Crying go to