Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital, LHSC first in Ontario to implement shaken baby program


For Immediate Release:
April 6, 2010

Period of PURPLE Crying® program media campaign also launched to educate caregivers on how to safely handle a crying baby


(LONDON, Ontario) – Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is the first hospital in Ontario to implement the Period of PURPLE Crying® program in their emergency department. The Period of PURPLE Crying® program provides important information to parents and caregivers regarding infant crying patterns and comforting strategies, and education on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

In the Children’s Hospital, LHSC, emergency department, on average, one infant is seen every three days for inconsolable crying, without any other medical condition.

"Education is the key to the prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome, and the Period of PURPLE Crying® program provides our health care professionals the opportunity to educate new families about normal infant crying patterns and give them the coping strategies to deal with the behaviours of their child,” says Karen Patrick, charge nurse, paediatric emergency. “It will also reassure caregivers that crying is normal and not a reflection of their parenting skills. If even one infant can be spared devastating injury or death, this program will have proven its worth.”

Through a generous grant from the Children’s Health Foundation, Children’s Hospital was also 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 (an estimated 2,500 new families yearly), including a take-home 11-page colour booklet and DVD, focusing on positive messages on coping with infant crying.

Also in April, to provide additional information on Shaken Baby Syndrome, the normalcy of crying and to promote National Child Abuse Prevention Month, Children’s Hospital, in collaboration with the Middlesex London Health Unit, is launching a media campaign developed by the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome. The London-based campaign features Shaken Baby Syndrome information on billboards, bus backs, transit shelters and radio-focused public service announcements.

About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for over 130 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 South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Children’s Hospital, two family medical centres, 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 30 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 10,000 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 more information:
Rachelle Wood
Communications Consultant
London Health Sciences Centre
(519) 685-8500 ext.77642

After-hours assistance:

Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call.

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.