Period of PURPLE Crying Program helps keep B.C. babies safe


Elementary school students, volunteers, moms and babies joined Children and Family Development Minister Stephanie Cadieux for a purple cap knit-in on October 18th at the BC Children’s Hospital. The annual Click for Babies – Purple Caps Knit-In event helps to raise awareness about Shaken Baby Syndrome and how to prevent it.

Since its full implementation in January 2009, the breakthrough Period of PURPLE Crying Program has helped reduce the number of cases of abusive head trauma in BC infants six months and younger by 58 per cent.

About 45,000 babies are born in British Columbia each year. All parents of newborns in BC receive a copy of the DVD, which includes a 17-minute film on ways to soothe their babies and an 11-page booklet, called “Did you know your infant would cry like this?”, before being discharged from the hospital. To date, approximately 170,000 BC families have received these materials.

Through the DVD and booklet, new moms and dads learn that it is never okay to shake a baby. The program helps parents and caregivers understand that babies can cry a great deal, up to five hours a day in the first two to five months of life. The training tools explain that the characteristics of infant crying are normal, temporary and not the fault of the caregiver.

The BC government has invested $1.6 million since 2008 to implement the program in all BC health units and birthing hospitals. The program is led by the Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome BC program at the BC Children’s Hospital.

Additional funders and in-kind contributors include the National Centre on Shaken Baby Syndrome, the Ministry of Health, the BC Injury Prevention Unit, BC Children’s Hospital, and Child Health BC. The Rick Hansen and Vancouver Foundations also provided one-time funding to the program.

As part of the annual knit-in event, elementary school students and volunteers knit purple caps and create handwritten cards for newborn babies. The caps will be given to babies in hospitals and public health units in November and December. Last year, approximately 8,000 caps were created and distributed to families.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) staff are proud knitters and contributors to the program. This year, MCFD staff throughout BC knitted 500 purple caps for the cause.

To learn more about the Period of PURPLE Crying Program, and how to get involved, go to: