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Calling all knitters!


For Immediate Release:

July 5, 2011

LHSC recruiting knitters for Shaken Baby Syndrome awareness campaign

LONDON, Ontario - The Trauma program at London Health Sciences Centre’s Children’s Hospital is recruiting knitters to help raise awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome. Interested knitters are being asked to knit or crochet purple baby caps in any pattern or shade of purple, and to not include strings, pom-poms or wool on the baby caps.

The caps will be provided to parents and caregivers, in support of The Period of PURPLE Crying® program, which provides important information to parents and caregivers regarding infant crying patterns and comforting strategies, and education on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

"The Period of PURPLE Crying® is the phrase used to describe the point in a baby’s life when they cry more than any other time,” says Denise Polgar, injury prevention specialist, LHSC. “We want everyone to know that crying is normal and that is never okay to shake or harm an infant.”

Through a generous grant from the Children’s Health Foundation in 2009, Children’s Hospital was the first hospital in Ontario to adopt the Shaken Baby Syndrome education program in their mother/newborn unit. The program includes nursing staff providing individual education to each woman/family, including a take-home 11-page colour booklet and DVD, focusing on positive messages on coping with infant crying.

Completed caps can be mailed or dropped off by October 20, 2011 to:

Denise Polgar, injury prevention specialist
Trauma Program, Room E1-129
Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre
800 Commissioners Road East
London, ON N6A 5W9

A follow-up knitting event to raise further awareness about the Period of PURPLE Crying® is being planned for Fall 2011.

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 135 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care, London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in Southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year. For more information visit www.lhsc.on.ca

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For media inquiries contact:
Rachelle Wood
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 77642

Shaken Baby Syndrome Background:

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome is the violent shaking of an infant or young child and is preventable.
  • Shaking infants or young children is never acceptable.
  • Infants have the highest risk of being SBS victims during the first few months of life.
  • Research has shown that crying is the most common trigger to shaking. There are several common characteristics of this early infant crying that can be very frustrating to caregivers.
  • There are strategies to help caregivers cope with early infant crying.
  • An education program for parents during their hospital stay after the infant’s birth can reduce the incidence of abusive head injuries.
  • Our education program at the time of the child’s birth has the greatest capability of reaching the largest percentage of new parents in the community.
  • Parents educated with practical information are likely to share it with others.
  • Research on adult learning suggests that adults are more open to information when it gives them coping tips for life-changing events.

The program implemented at Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre is based on The Period of PURPLE Crying® — a program developed by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome and designed by paediatricians, public health nurses, child experts and parents. A three-year randomized control trial, the gold standard of research, evaluated its effectiveness in changing knowledge and behaviours of parents.