Period of Purple Crying

Coleen Imming | April 1st, 2019

New Parents Encouraged to Understand Period of PURPLE Crying

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Buena Vista Regional Medical Center participates in the Period of PURPLE Crying® program.

BVRMC provides new parents with evidence-based education and resources to prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome through the Period of PURPLE Crying® program.

BVRMC has been sharing information regarding Period of PURPLE Crying® with parents since May of 2010. It helps parents, grandparents and caregivers to understand that all babies cry, just some do way more than others, but it is still normal. It offers hope as the Period of PURPLE Crying® is usually over by 5 months of age and there is information on ways to cope with the crying.

BVRMC’s Tracy Terry, RNC-OB, BSN, Maternal Newborn Educator, says, “It is sometimes helpful to parents just to know that they aren’t the only ones who go through this. We encourage parents to share the information with anyone who will be taking care of their baby.”

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a term used to describe a collection of signs and symptoms resulting from the violent shaking or slamming of an infant or young child. SBS is by far the leading cause of young child homicides. Long crying episodes are cited as the number one trigger in cases of SBS. The acronym PURPLE is used to describe specific characteristics of an infant’s crying and to let parents and caregivers know that what they are experiencing is simply a phase in their child’s development that will pass.

P – Peak of crying: Your baby may cry more each week; the most at 2 months, then less at 4 to 5 months.

U – Unexpected: Crying can come and go and you don’t know why.

R – Resists soothing: Your baby may not stop crying no matter what you do.

P – Pain-like face: A crying baby may look like they’re in pain, even though they’re not.

L – Long lasting: Crying can last as much as five hours a day or more.

E – Evening: Your baby may cry more in the late afternoon and evening.

The curriculum is designed to teach parents that crying is normal and provide them with action steps they can follow when their infant cries, including:

  • Carry, comfort, walk and talk with your baby.
  • If it’s too frustrating it is okay to walk away. Put the baby in a safe place and take a few minutes to calm yourself; then go back and check on the baby.
  • Never shake or hurt a baby – call for help if you are still frustrated.

As part of the evidence-based program, nurses provide education to parents prior to discharge from the hospital. Parents are sent home with a DVD and booklet to help them understand the serious nature of SBS, as well as techniques to prevent it, and are encouraged to share the materials with anyone who cares for their baby. For more information about the Purple program, visit or call 1-800-369-2229.

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