For Immediate Release
November 20, 2015
(LONDON, Ontario) – November is Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) awareness month. For the fifth year in a row London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is taking part in the CLICK for Babies campaign in support of The Period of PURPLE Crying program. This year, our call to knitters returned an unprecedented 14,000 purple newborn caps which have poured in from across North America and overseas from the United Kingdom, Ireland and Switzerland.
“Thank you to everyone who shared their personal stories and sent photos in, and most of all thank you for raising awareness about the Period of PURPLE Crying and Shaken Baby Syndrome,” says Brandon Batey, Injury Prevention Specialist. The hats are given to newborns at LHSC during November and December to remind parents and caregivers about the Period of PURPLE Crying. When parents see the caps they are reminded about the education they received in hospital about infant crying patterns.
Frustration with infant crying is cited as the leading trigger for infant abuse. LHSC sees approximately one to five cases of SBS a year, however, supporting evidence suggests that it is possible that some cases are under-reported or difficult to confirm. “SBS is a tragic event associated with high rates of mortality and severe morbidity in the most vulnerable among the pediatric population. Those of us that care for these patients are acutely aware of our limitations and even our failures in this endeavor but remain steadfast in our goal of saving lives and preserving families. Thankfully our campaign to raise awareness is having a real effect on the number of these tragic events,” says Dr. Neil Merritt, Director of Paediatric Trauma at Children’s Hospital, LHSC.
CLICK for Babies is a grassroots public education program organized by the National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS), along with hospitals, public health and child abuse prevention groups. The goal is to educate the public about infant crying patterns, and share coping strategies for new parents and caregivers. Supported by Children’s Health Foundation, Batey adds, “our education efforts are helping parents understand crying patterns of infants and different techniques to soothe a crying baby.”
For the second year in a row, LHSC is holding a social media photo contest in support of the program. Parents of babies who receive a purple cap from LHSC during November and December are eligible to win a newborn photo session with Laura Rowe Photography.
The word PURPLE is used as an acronym which reminds parents all of the characteristics of normal infant crying:
- Peak of crying – The baby may cry more each week, peaking at two months, and then less at three to five months.
- Unexpected – The crying can come and go, with no explanation.
- Resists soothing – The baby might not stop crying no matter what you try.
- Pain-like face – It may look like the baby is in pain, even when they are not.
- Long lasting – The baby might cry 5 hours per day or more.
- Evening – The baby might cry more in the late afternoon or evening.
Dr. Neil Merritt and Brandon Batey will be available for interviews on Friday, November 20, from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
About London Health Sciences Centre
London Health Sciences Centre has been at the forefront of medicine in Canada for 138 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, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, the Kidney Care Centre, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 65 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:
Corporate Communications and Public Relations
London Health Sciences Centre
519-685-8500, ext. 55721
Call LHSC Switchboard at 519-685-8500 and ask to page the communication consultant on-call