The Period of PURPLE Crying to Prevent Shaken Baby Syndrome

Faculty Mentor(s)

Joyce Van Hoff, Holland Hospital
Dr. Nancy Barnum, Hope College

Document Type


Event Date



Shaken baby syndrome (SBS) is defined as inflicted brain trauma in an infant as a caregiver reaction to persistent crying, and is associated with negative complications. Prior intervention programs have proven effective in reducing SBS. The purpose of this project was to perform a comprehensive literature review to determine if the prevention program of “The Period of PURPLE Crying” reduces SBS. An extensive review of nursing literature was completed with CINAHL and MEDLINE, using the keywords of shaken baby syndrome, inflicted brain trauma, PURPLE crying, and the period of PURPLE crying. The search yielded twelve manuscripts that focused on either shaken baby syndrome or prevention programs for SBS. The level of evidence is moderate, with one article classified as a single, random, controlled trial; two articles as well-designed nonrandom controlled trials; four articles as well-designed case-control and cohort studies; two articles as systematic reviews of qualitative studies; and one article as a single descriptive or qualitative study. Information was then synthesized to identify major trends and gaps. The literature provided evidence that “The Period of PURPLE Crying” program has resulted in increased caregiver knowledge about infant crying and shaking. Also, following participation in the program, caregivers have shared advice relative to walking away if frustrated by an infant’s crying. The project was limited by the few number of research manuscripts focused specifically on the topic. This literature review will be used as a foundation in the research design of a future study, in particular in the development of a data collection tool. Nursing research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of “The Period of PURPLE Crying” program in decreasing the incidence of SBS.

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