This research project seeks to implement an early intervention program that can be effective
in the prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) and infant abuse. Our hypothesis is that
the Period of PURPLE Crying intervention program can reduce shaking and abuse of infants
through changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors about early infant crying, especially
inconsolable crying. In this 3-year project, we will implement and evaluate an intervention
program in selected prenatal classes, hospitals, and primary care pediatric practices.
In this randomized, controlled trial, we will enroll a total of 3000 women/families who are
about to give birth or have just given birth to a healthy infant. At each of the three
sites (newborn nursery, pediatrician offices and prenatal classes), we will enroll 1000
subjects. Half of all subjects will receive intervention materials (a video, pamphlet and
bib/burp cloth) about infant crying. The other half, the control group, will receive
comparable materials on infant safety. All subjects will be asked to complete a brief
questionnaire at the time of enrollment (pre test), review the materials they receive,
complete the Baby’s Day Diary for 4 days when the infant is 5 weeks of age and complete a
telephone questionnaire (post test) when the infant is 8 weeks of age.
The specific goals of the program are:
1. To change the understanding (i.e., knowledge and attitudes) and reduce the frustration
of parents of new infants about the normality of the frustrating properties of crying;
2. To change the behavior of parents to increase caregiving contact in response to crying
but to ‘walk away’ if frustrated;
3. To provide parents with the ability to communicate to other caregivers (relatives,
baby-sitters) the knowledge and behavior to reduce frustration induced by inconsolable
4. To provide effective knowledge, skills and teaching materials to health care providers
in direct contact with parents concerning crying, shaking and abuse;
5. To reduce the incidence of physical abuse and shaken baby syndrome under one year;
6. To have the Period of PURPLE Crying program adopted as a nationwide early intervention
- Subjects must be new parents or parents to be who are either: 1) attending
participating prenatal classes; 2) delivering a baby at the participating hospital;
or 3) visiting a PSPRN (Puget Sound Pediatric Research Network) pediatrician for
- Only parents of infants born at > 34 weeks gestation are eligible.
- Parents of infants who have serious medical conditions.
- Parents who don’t speak and read English.
- Parents of infants born at < 34 weeks gestation.