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  • IHS Staff

Period of PURPLE Crying: Unraveling Abusive Head Trauma (AHT) Triggers

Infant crying, a common trigger for AHT, inspired the creation of the Period of PURPLE Crying (PoPC) intervention. Developed by Dr. Ronald G. Barr and colleagues, and operating since 2007, PoPC aims to educate parents about normal infant development and appropriate responses to crying.

Studies show that implementing PoPC has led to significant improvements. Mothers, especially those who have recently given birth, find the program useful in understanding normal infant crying, soothing techniques, and coping strategies.

Research, including randomized controlled trials and cross-cultural studies, demonstrates increased knowledge and positive behavioral changes in parents participating in PoPC. Reductions in pediatric emergency room visits related to crying complaints were also noted in areas where the program was implemented.

In North Carolina, after two years of PoPC implementation, calls to a nurse advice line for help with crying infants were reduced, emphasizing the program's impact. While statewide AHT rates didn't decrease, specific studies noted a substantial 75% reduction in injuries for parents who engaged in PoPC.

The effectiveness of PoPC, especially across economically disadvantaged populations, highlights the need for targeted AHT prevention services alongside universal programs. Let's continue to champion educational initiatives like PoPC to create safer environments for our little ones. Share the infographic below as a tool for parental education. Read more about Abusive Head Trauma in our Issue in Brief on our Child Maltreatment Policy Resource Center's site.

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